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ALS advocate and alumnus Pat Quinn ’06 shared a memorable speech at Commencement on May 23, though he wasn’t there to present it. Sadly, Pat lost his courageous battle with ALS in November 2020 at the age of 37. However, thanks to the help of family and friends, he was able to share his story of inspiration, fight and determination. Filmed before his passing, Quinn closed his message saying: “When I look in the mirror every day, I think, ‘Keep going and make a difference because life is amazing.'”

Pat Quinn with the Rugby team doing the ice bucket challenge.

In 2013, at 30 years old, Quinn was diagnosed with ALS. He committed his life to spreading awareness for this rare disease and became a strong advocate and organized “Quinn for the Win.” In 2014, the biggest movement in ALS fundraising history began with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Quinn was at the forefront, connecting networks to facilitate popularizing the challenge around the United States and the world. The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised a remarkable $250 million worldwide since its launch, directly leading to several important breakthroughs, yet there is still no cure. His five-word acceptance speech at the Webby Awards, “Every August Until a Cure,” became the mantra for the ALS community.

Pat Quinn shakes hands with the rugby team at homecoming.

Quinn was a rugby student-athlete and continued to the end with his staunch support of the program. In 2018, Iona Athletics dedicated the southwest corner of Mazzella Field as “Pat Quinn Corner.” A member of Iona Rugby’s Hall of Fame, Quinn also received Iona College’s Blessed Edmund Rice Humanitarian Award at the 2016 Board of Trustees Scholarship Award Gala and was honored at the 2019 Goal Club Hall of Fame dinner as the inaugural recipient of the Pat Quinn ’06 Courage Award.

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