Rhode Islanders raise money to go towards a free hospital
By: Brittany Comak
CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) - Event organizer Richard Corrente is already looking forward to next year's Patchfest, after the first ever event brought out thousands of people this Labor Day.
It's been less than a year since Corrente first got in contact with clown, doctor, and motivational speaker Hunter 'Patch' Adams, depicted by Robin Williams in the 1998 film of the same name.
Adams called Corrente in response to a letter he'd written him, and so was born a new friendship and the idea for 'Patchfest.'
"We are building a 40–bed free hospital," explained Corrente Monday.
That's been the vision for Doctor Adams for more than 40 years - known as the Gesundheit! Institute in West Virginia.
According to their website, the plan is to build a healthcare community at a hospital that is completely free of charge.
"Everybody said, 'It's for a 40–bed free hospital? What can I do?' said Corrente"
Corrente says Patchfest, a combination car show and fair, raised thousands of dollars Monday, thanks to the Rhode Island community, to put toward that goal.
He says Adams needs roughly $30 million to make the dream a reality and he says working towards that has become his new calling in life.
"I can't think of a better cause on this Earth, and so that's why I'm going to make it my life's work," said Corrente.
With Monday's event in the books, Corrente says the plan is for Rhode Island's Patchfest to be a model around the country.
The goal is for other states to be able to throw them, so maybe they can reach their goal a bit quicker.
"I'm 68, he's 74, we're doing it in our lifetime, and I'm going to be at the ribbon cutting," said Corrente of him and Adams.
We reached out to Adams for comment but did not immediately hear back.
You can learn more about the cause here.