09/16/2013 03:37 pm ET

For Some Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, Charity Checks Bring Frustration


BOSTON — When a close friend spent his money from the charity for Boston Marathon bombing survivors on a new house, J.P. Norden rejoiced along with him. When another used some of his six-figure payment to rent an apartment and pay off debts, Norden, who lost his right leg in the terrorist attack, knew the money had been put to good use.

But Norden’s own $1.2 million check still sits in a drawer in his mother’s apartment. The 33-year-old former truck driver lives there for now, along with his brother Paul, who also lost his right leg in the attack and received an identical payout. The brothers are reluctant to commit the money, aware that the cost of maintaining their expensive prostheses and replacing them every few years could chew up the generous contributions, and that their job prospects are uncertain at best.

“People will say stuff: ‘Oh, you guys got $1.2 million,’ ” J.P. Norden says from his bed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he is recuperating from yet another surgery. “Did we? Because I know I’ve got to buy a leg for the rest of my life. I can’t go out and buy a house.”