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Team Hoban's A Hero: Turning Grief Into Action

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

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.

Bobby and his daughters.

"Two of the men in the helicopter lived,"