Team Hoban’s A Hero: Turning Grief Into Action

Patti Hoban Simpson has been on the receiving end of phone calls that no one wants to get.

In July 2016, she was told she had breast cancer. Two months later, doctors detected a secondary form of cancer in her other breast. Patti underwent a double mastectomy a month later.

I won’t make you wait for this happy ending: “I am what they call ‘NED’ or no evidence of disease, which is remission. I am lucky.”

Then, in October 2018, Patti picked up the phone. It was the love of her brother’s life, Judy.

“Your brother has been in an accident.”

Patti’s brother, Bobby, was a helicopter pilot. He flew to upstate New York with three other men to work on power lines as part of a project for New York’s power authority. At some point, it is believed the helicopter became tangled up in the lines and caught fire.

“Bobby helped everyone get out,” Patti said. “He made the jump after. He was alive when the EMTs arrived.” After the call, she and her sisters mobilized to head up to the hospital where they were taking Bobby but not too long after she received another call: her brother had passed, leaving behind Judy, his three daughters, and the countless other people who loved Bobby.

“Two of the men in the helicopter lived,” Patti said, “Bobby helped them get out and they survived.”  In addition to Bobby, a fourth passenger also died.

“Bobby was the nicest guy and just so well respected,” Patti said. “He always wanted to fly. He started flying right out of high school and worked at the aviation school so he could get air time.” He then went on to become one of the first pilots in the aviation department of the Philadelphia Police and became a private pilot for two local families.

Despite the hole in their hearts left by Bobby’s passing, Patti, her sisters, and Bobby’s family were determined to stay strong and continue moving forward, just as Bobby would have wanted. They were cleaning out some of his belongings and Bobby’s daughter walked out of the house carrying a pair of his shoes to donate.  

That’s when it hit Patti.

“I just thought ‘What are we doing?’ At some point we’re going to leave this place and someone is going to be carrying out our stuff. I just wanted to make sure ‘stuff’ isn’t the only thing we leave behind.” 

With the support of her family as well as the families that Bobby worked for, she created Team Hoban’s A Hero in honor of her brother. “I want to continue the legacy he started, doing whatever he could for whoever needed it,” Patti said. “If you want to leave something other than stuff behind, you have to move your feet.”

And Team Hoban’s A Hero will be moving their feet with Legacy of Hope for PHL24, with an impressive $15K fundraising goal.

“When I was going through treatment, I didn’t have to worry about [finances]. I had health insurance…I had friends and family who could help me. But some days during treatment, you’re sitting on the couch thinking ‘I need to get up and do this. I need to get up and do that.’ and you just can’t. The energy isn’t there,” Patti says. “But I grew up in a house where you did have to worry about money. And we want to do what we can to make sure that we help those who are currently in that boat.”

Donations to Team Hoban’s A Hero can be made here. If you’re interested in joining Patti, cancer survivors, families, and supporters, register for PHL24 today.

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Nia Andrews

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Rebecca Blinn

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Carol Sollenberger

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Maree Lavo

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Bryan Lathrop

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Kimberly S. Reed

An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberly is a seasoned leader in transforming organizations into high-performing enterprises and challenging leaders to live without limits, with more than 20 years of HR, talent acquisition, and diversity & inclusion experience; successfully turning around troubled diversity practices by designing, building, leading, and shaping high-performing cultures at global organizations with robust strategies, global employee development programs and enterprise-wide initiatives that have increased revenue growth and organizational brand eminence.

Michele Redrow

Michele is a Director on the Legacy of Hope board and also serves on the Executive Committee.

mary chicorelli

Professional:  Mary is a certified city planner for Philadelphia, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Honor Roll First Judicial District of Philadelphia.

Bio: Mary’s insight into the legal world is invaluable to Legacy of Hope, both in keeping our daily operations moving fluidly as well as making connections for our patients and their families when needed.

“Michael reached out to me about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We worked together to help a woman with stage 4 cancer get her electricity turned back on after it was shut off during the winter. I’ve been 100% supportive of Mike’s vision since then.”

joseph ruggieri, jr

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University in Management and Finance

Bio: As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.’s upper management team, Joseph brings a wealth of knowledge regarding finances, management, team-building and planning to the Legacy of Hope board. Joseph linked up with Michael, our President, and Wells Fargo began supporting Legacy of Hope annually.

“My father passed away from what started as Colon Cancer in 2015. Cancer is horrible and if there is something I can do to help others impacted I would want to be a part of it.”

David April

David is the founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, an organization with chapters all over the world based here in Philadelphia.

dr. kevin kelly

Dr. Kevin Kelly leads Legacy of Hope’s Scientific Review Board to seek out and support the most promising cancer research in Philadelphia using a merit-based system.  He is Jefferson’s Director of Solid Tumor Oncology.

greg garber

Greg Garber is the director of Oncology Support Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Gina Mancuso

Gina’s experience as the very successful co-owner of CoreFitness, LLC coupled with her expertise in planning special events makes her the perfect Vice President for Legacy of Hope. With energy, passion, and drive that makes her seem superhuman, Gina’s connection to our mission is a personal one.

“Both my father and my dear childhood friend were diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of one another. They were surrounded and supported by friends and family throughout their battle and until their passing. No one should suffer through a diagnosis alone and, without Legacy of Hope, some people would do just that.”

Michael Rowe


Volatile Media Management’s Mover, Shaker, Changemaker Award – February 2017

Miles Mack Community Services & Leadership Honorable Mention – 2016 TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2015

TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2014


With his free time so limited, Michael manages to fuse his work with his other passion: running. Whether it is with the Fishtown Beer Runners, our own Team Relentless Hope, or his closest friends, Michael can often be spotted on the streets of Philadelphia keeping himself fit and active.