FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Sept. 14, 2018) - Eight years ago, the Kraft family and Patriots Foundation introduced Celebrate Volunteerism, a season-long initiative focused on recognizing community volunteers and promoting the importance of giving back to the community through service.
Throughout the 2018 season, the foundation will continue its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers. The foundation will present a weekly "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.
"We originally started the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative as a tribute to my sweetheart, Myra," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Over the past eight years, it has become the heart and soul of the Patriots Foundation, just like Myra was. We enjoy shining the light on local volunteers that are committed to improving the lives of children and families across the region and we hope that this inspires our fans to get more involved in their communities."
To kick off this season's Celebrate Volunteerism campaign, Patrick Lacey from Braintree, Mass. was selected as the first 2018 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to Beat NB Cancer Foundation.
In 2005, Patrick was informed that his seven month old son, Will, had neuroblastoma cancer. Eighteen months later, Patrick was told that Will's cancer was incurable. Patrick refused to accept that fate and set out to find a cure.
In 2007, Patrick established the Beat NB Cancer Foundation to help children, like his son, who are battling neuroblastoma. His fundraising has allowed the organization to establish life-saving clinical trials across the country. Since its inception, Beat NB has created more than 20 clinical trials spanning more than 40 hospitals across the United States. More than 1,000 children have been treated and positively impacted by these trials. Patrick also started a drug company to manufacture the therapies needed to save lives.
"After being told our son was incurable we began a journey to change that," said Patrick. "We were so fortunate that we found the right doctor, and through funding her research, she found a treatment that did work."
Thanks to his volunteer efforts, Patrick has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children, including his son, Will, who is now in middle school, playing a variety of sports and has been free of cancer treatments for more than three years.
"Our mission now is to continue to fund this work so that every child with a deadly cancer gets the same opportunity at life that my son was given," Patrick said. "We'll continue the fight until ever diagnosis comes with the promise of a cure."
Fifteen individuals will be named Patriots Difference Makers throughout the season. The outstanding volunteers will be recognized on the Patriots website and in print materials, including Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots GameDay magazine. They will also be honored during a special ceremony at the Patriots final regular season home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 30.
Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting www.patriots.com/community.