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Patrick’s Pals for Good: Jim ’90 and Kerry Cosgrove Conmy ’90

Patrick’s Pals for Good: Jim ’90 and Kerry Cosgrove Conmy ’90
Clockwise, from top center: Jim Conmy ’90, Catherine Conmy, Kerry Cosgrove Conmy ’90, Patrick Conmy and Seamus Conmy enjoy some fun in the sun together.

An alumni couple turns a one-time charitable gesture into a perpetual force for good.

Dedication to service. Concern for the common good. These are two of the values The University of Scranton hopes to instill in its graduates so they may become “men and women for and with others.” They are also two of the values that guided Jim ’90 and Kerry Cosgrove Conmy ’90 when they chose to create Patrick’s Pals Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the families of children with disabilities get equipment and therapy they cannot otherwise afford and that their insurance companies refuse to cover.

“One thing we valued and learned and took away from our education at Scranton was about being charitable and giving back,” Kerry said. “We are fortunate to be able to help others, and it has really been a blessing to us.”

Why did the Conmys choose to start a foundation that has raised nearly $1 million for children with disabilities? The story begins at Scranton in the 1980s, when Jim, a Philadelphia native studying history, met Kerry Cosgrove, a New York native studying accounting. After graduating in 1990, the couple married in 1994 and had Seamus, their first child, in 1998. Their daughter, Catherine, was born in 2000, and, in 2003, the family welcomed Patrick into the world. Almost immediately, Kerry noticed significant differences between Patrick and his siblings.

“He wasn’t hitting the milestones and developing, and, being my third child, I was very aware of that,” she said.

Gradually, the Conmys realized Patrick was unable to do many things for himself. As a result, he required specialized medical equipment and therapies that their health insurance often did not cover because it did not deem them “medical necessities.” In 2006, when Patrick was 3 years old, a group of their family and friends approached them with the idea of putting together a charity golf outing to raise money for Patrick. While Jim and Kerry were touched by the gesture, they didn’t feel comfortable accepting money. Instead, they chose to start a foundation that would help the families of children with disabilities.

patrickspals1.jpgClockwise, from left: Dan Tempone ’90, Jeannie Tempone, Daniel Tempone, Caroline Tempone and Matthew Tempone participate in the annual Patrick’s Pals 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk.

“Adaptive equipment is expensive, and insurance doesn’t cover a lot of it, which makes it difficult for families to purchase equipment that their children need to function on a daily basis,” Kerry said.

From its home base in New Jersey all the way to Costa Rica, Patrick’s Pals Foundation has provided safety beds, bath chairs, motorized wheelchairs, adaptive bicycles, hippotherapy lessons and many other things to more than 150 families. Hundreds of supporters, including many Scranton alumni, attend its golf outing and dinner at Stanton Ridge Country Club in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, each August and its 5K at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, New Jersey, each April. Five Scranton alumni sit on the foundation’s 12-member board of directors.

Kerry said the Conmys feel fortunate that so many like-minded people, passionate about helping others, surround them, and they believe the foundation would not succeed without the efforts of their family and friends.

“Because of their love for Patrick, they are driven to help others,” she said. “That is a blessing to us.”

With a little help from his friends, Patrick will continue to help the families of children with disabilities.

“Patrick has done a tremendous amount for others,” Kerry said. “Without him and his inspiration this foundation wouldn’t be in place, and these families wouldn’t have been helped, and this community wouldn’t rally the way it does every April and every August, and it’s all because of my little angel, Patrick.

“He brings people together, and he brings out the compassionate side of people. Without him, this never would have been accomplished. I’m really proud of him.”

patrickspals2.jpg

Several members of the Class of 1990 attend the Patrick’s Pals Annual Charity Golf Outing in August 2018.

Patrick’s Pals Foundation will have its annual golf outing Aug. 12. For more information, visit patrickspalsfoundation.com.

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