A special man, with a compassionate heart, spent much of his time walking the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, feeding stray and feral cats. Recently, pancreatic cancer claimed Fred Coburn’s life and those who knew and respected him, are mourning his loss.
Coburn was a volunteer for Boston’s Forgotten Felines – he spent his nights, bundled up against the cold, working from 1 a.m. until 7 a.m., to feed cats at 23 different sites in some of Boston’s roughest neighborhoods. The weather was never a deterrent to Coburn’s efforts – the only thing that ever managed to prevent him from caring for the cats was the heinous disease which ultimately claimed his life.
In mid-November, before Coburn passed away, the Facebook page, Lilly the Hero Pit bull, reached out to its Facebook followers with a request to show the man who had given so much, the kindness of strangers. The request read in part, “This is Fred, for many many years of his life has been feeding the homeless cats on the streets of Boston for Boston’s Forgotten Felines. He goes to the most dangerous neighborhoods beginning around midnight starting his feeding rounds all over town, all year round, night after night. Until this week he was still going out at night but recently he got so ill he had to be hospitalized, sadly Fred has pancreatic cancer.Fred doesn’t have ANY family and very few close friends to support him right now. And sometimes the kindness of strangers, who have been through hard times, can often be just as comforting as having family. We are asking our fans to kindly take a moment and write to him and let you know you care.”
The request was heard, and answered. The response to the request for cards was posted on the same Facebook page where the original request was made, “We posted a story about Fred, a dedicated volunteer for BFF who goes out every night to feed stray cats all over Boston. He recent was diagnosed with cancer and has been unable to volunteer. Unfortunately he has no close family so we asked you to send him Get Well Cards. And boy, did you guys deliver! You have NO IDEA the love Fred felt from the 300 + cards he received (from 5 cards from out of the country). After the first 10 cards he said “I haven’t received 10 cards in my WHOLE LIFE.” Fred received cash, gift cards and paragraphs of thoughtfully written well wishes. His health is not much better but the cards and gifts lifted his spirits. BFF also received a lot of cat food, monetary donations and other items from the wishlist.”
Fred did not beat the disease, but he did know that his life mattered – to the cats he helped care for, and to the strangers who appreciated his efforts.
Rest in peace Fred Coburn.
Read more about Fred’s story here.
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