Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

PayPal unfreezes $45,000 cancer donation

Justin Crockett, who has a brain tumour, with wife Jane and sons Chase and baby Koen. Photo / Dean Carruthers
Justin Crockett, who has a brain tumour, with wife Jane and sons Chase and baby Koen. Photo / Dean Carruthers

A $45,000 donation for an Auckland man's cancer treatment has finally been released by electronic payment firm PayPal.

The company, which processes online transactions, put a hold on the donation after it was picked up by its money-laundering filters.

The money was meant to fund private chemotherapy treatment using an expensive new drug for Justin Crockett, who has an aggressive brain tumour.

This morning, following Herald enquiries, a PayPal spokesman said the situation had been resolved and the money released to the Crocketts.

Mr Crockett and his wife Jane have been fundraising since last year to pay for treatment and possible overseas surgery. They have two children, Chase, 4, and Koen, 11 months.

On Tuesday, Mrs Crockett discovered the $45,000 donation made by a stranger from Britain who was a "friend of a friend", alongside three others worth about $1300, had been frozen by PayPal - which the family had used for overseas donations.

The couple, who need $46,000 to start Mr Crockett's treatment in 10 days, were required to prove their account was legitimate.

Mrs Crockett rang PayPal without success and said she felt "helpless" and "stressed out".

"I just think it's a bit appalling that they have that power to freeze it. It's not their money. People shouldn't be put through this stress."

An early childhood education teacher, Mrs Crockett was on maternity leave and had just given birth to the couple's younger son when Mr Crockett was diagnosed with a glioblastoma tumour in his brain.

PayPal senior director of communications Anuj Nayar said in this case it appeared PayPal made a mistake. He was not able to go into details for privacy reasons but "we take any case where someone is caught in the net by mistake very seriously".

"We have made contact with the customer and will look to ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible to get this addressed as soon as we can."


*Donations can be made to Crockett Fundraiser, account number 03 1500 0262300 000

- NZ Herald

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