FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Dec 10, 2020) – Ten years ago, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation introduced a season-long theme called Celebrate Volunteerism. The main focus of the initiative was to recognize community volunteers and to promote the importance of volunteering. Since its inception, New England Patriots players, coaches, alumni, cheerleaders and fans have donated hundreds of thousands of hours to giving back to their New England communities.
Throughout the 2020 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.
"This has been a challenging year, unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetimes," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Charitable organizations have been called upon to support more children and families than ever before. We admire all of the hardworking volunteers that have stepped up and helped these nonprofits to continue to serve those in need. Through this Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, we will shine a light on some of these outstanding volunteers, make a donation to their respective charity and encourage our fans to get involved."
Robert Skirvin-Orr from Nashua, N.H. was selected as a 2020 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to the Cancer Center at Lowell General Hospital. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to support TeamWalk for CancerCare.
A hair stylist by trade, Robert wanted to contribute his talents to the Cancer Center's Wig Boutique through the "Look Good, Feel Better" program. In 2012 he started volunteering his time, working with more than 50 patients annually, helping them to select and customize the perfect hair prosthesis to fit the patient's individual needs and style. Robert goes above and beyond to make each patient feel beautiful and confident during their diagnosis or recovery.
To support fundraising efforts for this program, Robert created a fashion show fundraiser known as the CatWalk for Cancer Care. During its inaugural year, the event was held in the hospital auditorium, raising $3,000. Over the next several years, Robert engaged a committee of community volunteers, forged relationships with major retailers and sponsors and turned the CatWalk for Cancer Care into the hospitals "event of the year." Serving as the auctioneer and emcee, Robert orchestrates an inspirational event for cancer survivors, patients and their families and supporters. Thanks to his dedication and leadership, the event has now raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of TeamWalk for CancerCare.
"Volunteering teaches us that together we can make a difference," said Robert. "I volunteer at Lowell General Hospital because you never know when you will make a profound difference in someone's life, those around them, as well as your own."
Robert has remained active as a volunteer during the pandemic, helping to coordinate virtual fundraising experiences. His enthusiasm, creativity, sense of humor and generous spirit are unmatched and his impact on patients and the Cancer Center are immeasurable.
"There is no I in team so I would like to thank the CatWalk for CancerCare team," said Robert. "Teamwork makes the dream work."
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation encourage fans to show their support for local charitable organizations and to nominate a volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award. To get involved, visit www.patriots.com/community.