Volunteer, 80, inspires teammates in run



CAMDEN — An unofficial team of about 30 volunteers, associates and physicians from Lourdes Health System participated in the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 1.

One of them was Frank Duffy, a resident of Magnolia and a member of Holy Child Parish in Runnemede. This was the second year that Duffy, a Lourdes volunteer for more than 20 years, ran with the Lourdes team.

At age 80, going on 81 in September, Duffy served as an inspiration to all who ran with him.

“I wanted to raise money for a good cause,” said Duffy, who used to be an avid runner years ago but wasn’t sure if he could even walk 10 miles when he first considered doing the Broad Street Run. “I ran a little each day to build up my endurance.”

Duffy’s accomplishment had even more meaning considering he had undergone quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago. Today he is in good health, which allows him to volunteer at Lourdes every Tuesday and Thursday, rotating between the dialysis and medical affairs departments.

“Hospitals need a lot of help and I know Lourdes appreciates me,” said Duffy. “I’m happy to volunteer because I get to meet many nice people.”

At 6 feet and 175 pounds, Duffy has a runner’s body. His colleagues at Lourdes urged him to run in the Philadelphia event a year ago.

“Last year, a few of my fellow Lourdes volunteers talked me into doing the Broad Street Run,” said Duffy. “I registered and began walking a few miles each week then added to it.”

Duffy said he was glad he ran last year and wanted to go back for more this year.

“It was quite an accomplishment, which is why I decided to do it again this year.” said Duffy.

Duffy retired in 1990 after a career that started in the Navy, then took him to Pennsylvania Railroad, where he worked as a clerk. Later, he went into computer programming and became a systems analyst.

He began volunteering at Lourdes more than 20 years ago.

“I started volunteering for a couple of reasons,” said Duffy. “My late wife used to volunteer all the time and that inspired me. Also, I know all about helping out because I’m one of 14 children. I’m a middle child, with seven before me and six after, and the last two being twins. Lastly, I retired, was living alone and still wanted to interact with people and be social.”

Duffy’s advice to other seniors who may be interested in running a race is this: “I am a big fan of walking. You can do it slow, fast, with someone or without. And at a race, you don’t have to necessarily run the whole thing. Sometimes I just walk quickly. It’s all about having fun and raising money for a good cause.”

Duffy finished Sunday’s Broad Street Run in 2 hours and 48 minutes.