Cardinal O’Hara Grads Fulfill Friend’s Wish With a Long-Running Charity

Patrick Purcell poses next to his car with its Friends for Friends sticker. Image via Young Kim, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Friends for Friends is a fulfillment of a wish, writes Marc Narducci for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bob Carroll visited his friend Al Patrone in the hospital after organizing a fundraiser to help pay for his cancer treatments. There were 1,200 people at the fundraiser, with $55,000 raised.

“He was so excited about how many people showed up and said that we should keep this [charity] thing going,” recalled Carroll. “I promised him I would.”

Today, Friends for Friends is a 300-member nonprofit that has distributed almost $12 million to those facing hardships.

It was organized shortly after Patrone’s death, made up largely of Cardinal O’Hara High graduates form the classes of 1974 and 1965. Carroll is president.

For $50 annually, each member gets to nominate a person to receive help.

The recipients have ranged from a man who lost his job to a couple paying for treatment of their toddler’s kidney disease, to a struggling family who wanted to give a bike to their son.

Member Patrick Purcell of Drexel Hill was himself a recipient in 2018 just before undergoing surgery for lung cancer.

“I’m not an emotional guy, but I cried,” said Purcell.

Read more about Friends for Friends here.

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