The Story of Pat Kelly and the how the Joshua Frase Foundation began
Patrick Joseph Kelly II
October 25, 1965 – March 28, 2003
A Tribute to a Friend
“The men who build the future are those who know that greater things are yet to come, and that they themselves will help bring them about. Their minds are illuminated by the blazing sun of hope. They never stop to doubt. They haven’t time.” — Melvin J. Evans
Some go through their whole life and accomplish nothing; others, in only a short time, change the world. That was Pat Kelly. Many knew him only as a football player or a businessman; we knew him as our friend. He took his love and compassion for our son, Joshua, and shared it with everyone he met, creating the JFF Muscle Dream Team Gala and raising millions of dollars for the treatment of and, one day, a cure for congenital myopathies. Words can’t express how much we’ll miss him nor how eternally grateful we are for the chance to have known him.
Love, Paul & Alison Frase & The Joshua Frase Foundation
In the fall of 1996, Paul Frase and his former Syracuse and New York Jets teammate, Pat Kelly, decided it was time for the Joshua Frase Foundation to begin raising funds. Pat, a managing director at Bear Stearns in Boston and then in New York, led the effort that would become the JFF Muscle Dream Team Gala. His commitment, his energy and his drive would create a lasting legacy.
A committee was formed that year and a development professional was hired. The group worked together to gather old college friends, former teammates and a team of corporate supporters to raise not only money, but also awareness of myotubular myopathy and other devastating neuromuscular diseases. The JFF Muscle Dream Team Gala quickly became one of the premier events of its kind.
By bringing together a unique mix of NFL stars and legends, musical celebrities and some of the most influential and successful members of the corporate world, JFF has raised over $6.5 million to help world-renowned researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Toronto SickKids, The Medical College of Wisconsin, and University of Florida uncover potential treatments for neuromuscular disorders. JFF's work fosters hope for more than 2,000 children who are diagnosed with neuromuscular disorders each year. JFF's team remains committed to fighting for the Joshua's of the world.
Pat Kelly’s devotion to JFF became even more apparent as he fought his own battle with a terminal disease. When he was diagnosed with cancer, Kelly passed the JFF torch to his friend and colleague, Alex Zecca, and Alex's wife, Laura, ensuring that his important work would continue. Kelly lost his battle with cancer on March 28, 2003, leaving behind a loving wife, devoted friends and a legacy of caring, commitment and camaraderie that continues on in his memory.
Over the years, Pat and Paul’s special friendship, and the unwavering and generous support of Laura and Alex Zecca, set the stage for many NFL and MLS athletes to join the battle against neuromuscular disorders. The response has been incredible.