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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: August 19, 2003
Byline: Maureen Broderick Rockledge


Letter: A fitting tribute (1 of 2)

I am saddened, angry, and a bit puzzled by Michael P. Gallen's letter ("Why help skateboarders?" July 29), in which he criticized my sister, Liz Kerr, who created a scholarship exclusively for skateboarders in memory of her son Patrick Kerr.

It seems Gallen is of the opinion that skateboarders do not deserve the chance to pursue a higher education. He states that the money should be available for "young people who have volunteered for charities, achieved high academic honors, and overcome great personal obstacles "

If Gallen had done some homework and read a few Inquirer articles about the Kerr family, he would have learned the following:

Patrick Kerr was an honors student at Roman Catholic High School; he was brilliant in math, and very involved in charitable activities

As a nurse at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Liz Kerr established a Make-a-Wish-type program for her patients. She also acquired Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's bicycle to be used as a fund-raiser for the Fox Chase Cancer Center

Liz, husband Pearse, daughter Dana, and son Brendan also have raised $18,000 in scholarship money for Roman Catholic High School students who need financial aid.

Gallen is incorrect when he states that skateboarding "frequently results in bodily injury and even death." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skateboarders have fewer injuries than even volleyball players.

Gallen will never understand the joy Patrick Kerr brought to our family in life, nor the absolute devastation his death has wrought.

I applaud the Kerr family, who, in their grief-stricken state, have found the energy, courage, determination and compassion to memorialize the son and brother they so deeply loved, and to help others who shared Patrick's enthusiasm for the sport.

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