The Durkins are a family of seven children who were raised by their incredible parents—Brendan and Claire Durkin— in the hard-working, South section of Lowell, MA known as “Spaghettiville” (named for the once home of the Prince Spaghetti factory). Brendan and Claire passed away in 2015 and 2016 respectfully. They demonstrated a tremendous devotion and commitment to their family, and while they struggled to raise their kids on a modest income, they were always willing to lend a helping hand to any family, friend or neighbor in need. The Durkin Foundation’s goal is to honor their legacy by assisting individuals and families affected by the following issues which were near and dear to their hearts.
Claire’s 11-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease proved to be the greatest test of strength for the Durkin family, but also provided them with the opportunity to demonstrate what they learned from their parent’s lifelong example. Their experiences in care taking brought to light the need to supplement support services for other families in these circumstances. The foundation supports programs and assistance for Alzheimer patients and their family caretakers that improve their quality of life.
Raising a child with Down syndrome presented new challenges for Brendan and Claire, and they worked hard to provide their daughter Patty with every opportunity available to her. In return, they were graced by Patty’s unconditional love for them, her ever present smile, and the joy of seeing Patty learn, develop and thrive. The foundation supports providing enriching opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Brendan’s military service to his country, in which he received two purple hearts and a bronze star provided him with an understanding of the challenges in returning to civilian life after active duty. Support for returning veterans is important to their transition back to their communities, and the foundation will support programs and opportunities for these vets and their families.
In November 2016, the city of Lowell honored Brendan Durkin and his two brothers for their collective military service by dedicating a South Lowell bridge to be named The Durkin Family Bridge.
The Durkin Foundation was established in 2016 by Dan and Stephanie Durkin, who worked alongside Dan’s brothers, sisters and their spouses to develop a way to fill in the gaps that traditional programs didn’t address. The inspiration for the foundation grew from the realization of just how much work it is to properly care for the people that we love. The Durkin Foundation hopes to provide financial assistance in the support of families dealing with situations where team-work is required to succeed and failure is not an option.