Team of the Week

Pat’s Pals

Continuing a Race tradition started by a mother and daughter 22 years ago

Pat’s Pals was founded in 1997 by team captain Connie Burns in honor of her mother. Pat was a breast cancer survivor. She and Connie started participating the Race when it was first introduced in New York City in 1990. “For the first couple of years, it was just the two of us,” said Burns. “But we convinced my cousin Gerry and my then-mother-in-law to join us.”

Pat died in January of 1997. “I knew I wanted to honor her in some way and keep her memory alive,” said her daughter, “I couldn't think of a better way than to form a team in her name and walk the Race for the Cure.”



Last year, Pat’s Pals had 21 team members and raised $955. This year, the team had 12 members and has raised $865 to date, three times above its $250 goal.

In its first year, Pat’s Pals was made up of Connie Burn’s friends and family. Since then, its members have grown to include new and old faces. “There are a few who have walked all 15 years,” stated Burns.

Many of the people who are part of Pat’s Pals have been directly affected by breast cancer. There are survivors, as well as people who have family members with the disease. “ We've had members who lost their battle against the disease,” she said. “And, while walking the Race, I've had people tell me they finally went for a mammography.”

Burns is constantly talking about the Race to try and get new members. Teammates also bring in friends and family. “We go up and down in numbers each year,” she explained. “But we get out the message of how important it is to be aware of breast cancer and do what you can to help find the cures.” The team recruits new members via word of mouth and emails. Burns’ most important fundraising technique is personally talking to others. “I do send out emails and letters, however I find speaking to people one-on-one gets better results for me,” she said.

When asked for her favorite team memory, Burns cited the first year the group walked as a team. “We were the largest community team that year,” she explained. “It was bittersweet for me, but it warmed my heart. I felt Pat was looking down and smiling, knowing our walks would continue.

“She may not have been there in body, but she was definitely there in spirit.”