A voice is the most unique aspect of a person that differentiates them from the rest of the world. Everyone’s voice is different, Project Revoice recognized that and decided to customize their assistive technology to humanize and bring back to life the uniqueness that people with disabilities once had. I know Patrick Quinn not just from this story, but as his family member.
In 2013, Patrick Quinn, the Yonkers native, was diagnosed with ALS. Prior to his diagnosis, Patrick was a student-athlete at Iona College, actively involved with Iona Rugby. After his graduation in 2006, he embarked on the next chapter of his life working on Wall Street.
Patrick and I at the annual Westchester County ALS walk! Quinn For The Win makes a large presence every year consisting of all of Pat’s family & friends who are fighting ALS alongside him.
However, after a softball tournament in 2011, Patrick first started noticing symptoms, beginning with the twitching of his left arm. As a healthy young man, Pat didn’t think much of it until two weeks of continuous twitching. After a series of tests and multiple doctor visits to different specialists Pat was diagnosed with ALS on March 8, 2013.
“Sometimes it is easy to question why certain things happen to you. But I believe this hand has been dealt to me for a reason. And I'm not giving up.”
Patrick said this to family and friends from the very first day of his diagnosis. He promised himself he was not going to give up. His mission was to take his diagnosis and become an advocate for people in the same situation as him and make a difference in the lives of people affected with ALS. And he did just that; Patrick Quinn had a mission to make a difference for individuals and families fighting ALS. Quinn For The Win was formed shortly after his diagnosis, and Patrick made lifelong connections with other ALS patients, such as Pete Frates. Together, they started the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that put ALS on the playing field and raised not only funds for a cure, but also much needed awareness.
He also served as a judge for the 2016 ALS Association and Prize4Life Assistive Technology Challenge. One of the finalists he judged and encouraged was a tech start-up, Project Vive, a team I am now a part of. Project Vive is dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to a voice by democratizing speech generating technology through smart personalizable sensors and open-source software integrated with mass-produced consumer electronics.
Project Vive took the Voz Box worldwide for the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge in Ireland, where Pat Quinn served as a judge! We had a blast working with ALS patients from all over the world helping them test our technology.
Patrick has dedicated all his time and energy to changing the face of ALS forever, he does not want to see others suffer in the way that he has. Patrick advocated for ALS with every word he spoke. Inevitably, ALS robbed him of his ability to speak. Although Pat could still communicate through his eye gaze technology, “I don’t want to sound like a computer, I want to sound like me.” So Project Revoice set out on their own mission to innovate assistive technology and customize Patrick’s own, unique voice for his devices.
On April 12, 2018 they successfully gave Patrick Quinn back his voice.
Hearing Patrick’s voice for the first time in so long brought back so many emotions and reminded me of why we continue to fight this fight. ALS is a disease that robs human beings of their natural ability to speak, walk, and perform daily activities without hesitation. As a family member of Patrick Quinn and also as a member of Project Vive’s amazing team, I would like to thank Project Revoice for all the work they have done.
“It’s changed my life forever.”