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Making the Holidays a Little Brighter for Local Families

Luke Patton Memorial Fund distributes $3,500 to local families this year

JOHNSTOWN—Last year, the Patton family unexpectedly lost their oldest son, Luke, just days after Christmas Eve, when he was diagnosed with polymyositis. This year, they are honoring his legacy by providing support to other families dealing with the heartbreak of a sudden loss of a loved one.

Luke was only 33 years old, a young man who loved music and playing guitar, and he and his family were unaware that he was suffering from the rare auto-immune disease, which affects the muscles and can spread throughout the body.

Through the Luke Patton Memorial Fund and its annual fundraiser, the Luke Patton Memorial Golf Outing, the family has created avenues to continue to share Luke’s positivity by helping a struggling family. In October, they put out a call seeking nominations of families who are in financial need, reside in Cambria County or Somerset County, and have experienced an unexpected loss of family member within the last year.

Through those responses, managed through CFA, and through the Conemaugh Township Rotary Wishes of Christmas, they have distributed a total of $3,500 to help local families this holiday season.

“We put Luke in an ambulance on Christmas Eve with the hopes he would be home in a day or two,” his mother, Leah Patton, said. “Our holiday is forever changed, and we want to honor his memory with blessing others. Helping a family through a desperate time, just having them know someone cares, is important to us.”

Luke’s family also plans to use the fund to honor Luke’s love for music by providing opportunities for children and teens to learn to play the guitar.

“Luke loved playing the guitar,” Leah said. “He started lessons and we bought him his first bass for his 14th birthday. We want to support an adolescent with lessons and equipment, if needed, to allow them to develop a part of themselves that sometimes is kept quiet. This world is so stressful, and if we can allow a brief escape, we would love to honor Luke in this way.”

Another portion of funds raised will support myositis research and development. Find a link to donate or find more information about the fund and annual golf outing at

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