By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Jeff Logan was a teenager when he started bonding over basketball with his mom, Pat. This will be the eighth year he’s had to fill out his NCAA tournament bracket without her. But Jeff, now 53, rallies others to do it in her memory.
Pat died in 2009 from complications of aortic dissection surgery. The following year, Jeff started Pat’s Picks. Last year the grassroots movement donated about $1,500 to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women program to support awareness of heart disease in women.
This year, Jeff hopes to boost the total number of brackets.
“It’s word of mouth. Each year the goal is to get a few more brackets — this year we’re shooting for 75,” Jeff said. “Once the brackets are scoring on Facebook, people come back to look at it over and over again to see how they are doing.”
This week holds a lot of meaning for the family. Friday would have been Bill and Pat Logan’s 55th wedding anniversary. Bill still lives in the Olathe, Kansas, home where the couple raised Jeff and his siblings to love sports.
“My dad loves Pat’s Picks because he thinks it’s a great way to honor her and keep her memory alive,” Jeff said.
Because smoking contributed to his mom’s heart issues, Jeff hopes to increase awareness that although smoking is on the decline, too many are still addicted. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined.
“My mom was certainly a ’60s-style mom most of her life. There was a direct correlation between her smoking and the weakening and destruction of her aorta,” Jeff said. “Her entire aorta was replaced with a synthetic one.”
Jeff thinks Pat — an Irish woman with a booming voice who loved the limelight — would’ve gotten a kick out of the March Madness tradition launched in her honor.
“I think she would probably laugh originally, and when she was done laughing, she would be touched,” Jeff said. “This event … has been so endearing that people are really into it.”