Pedaling for a cause
When Ed Foran first raced in the Courage Classic, a bike tour benefiting Children’s Hospital Colorado, he had no idea how close to home the organization would soon become.
“I just signed up because I like to bike,” said Foran, an Aspen realtor who lived in Boulder with his wife and two small children at the time. “And it seemed like a good cause.”
Fast-forward a few years, and a life-changing phone call had the Foran family racing from their new home in Carbondale to Children’s Hospital in Denver.
“I just wanted to pull over and vomit,” Foran said. “Because the first thing you think when you get that kind of news is that your kid’s going to die.”
Ed and his wife Barbara had rushed their son, Tommy, to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs the night before after discovering that their son was urinating blood.
The next day, doctors informed the Forans that 5-year-old Tommy had a tumor “the size of a tennis ball” in his kidney, and that they needed to get him to Children’s Hospital immediately.
“You go through life just ‘la di da,’ and then all of the sudden, boom. Something like this happens. And it truly is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Ed said.
After performing a series of tests, doctors diagnosed Tommy with Stage 2 Wilms tumor, a rare pediatric cancer that affects fewer than 500 children a year in the United States.
As part of treatment protocol, they would have to remove his affected kidney and he would have to undergo 13 months of chemotherapy.
Though it was “without a doubt the hardest year” the Foran family ever faced, Ed couldn’t stress enough how fortunate they are for the “superb care” of Children’s Hospital.
“You’re knocked for a loop, you know? Your world is turned upside down. And to have this support system — the hospital, the doctors — is a lifesaver. … They are the most compassionate, skilled, competent professionals I have ever come across,” Ed said. “I don’t know how they do it.”
Ed Foran said a revisit to Children’s Hospital this past winter served as a “validation of what we experienced and inspired me to do something.”
In an effort to express this gratitude, Ed is racing in the three-day Courage Classic bike tour this weekend for the first time in 15 years.
“I do feel a sense of obligation to give back,” Ed said, adding that he’s concerned about medical research funding and cuts.
“We are a lucky family,” he said. “We got the good news, we have our child. A lot of people aren’t so lucky.”
This spring, a “healthy and fully recovered” Tommy graduated with a degree in sociology from Ft. Lewis College, where his father said he was “involved in a lot of projects helping Native Americans on the reservations.”
“He’s figuring out what he’s going to do right now. He’s a very sweet, thoughtful boy,” Ed said, smiling. “And I think his passion is that he wants to help people who are less fortunate.”
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With the retirement of Colorado’s color-coded COVID-19 restrictions dial, state and local leaders are today steering Colorado toward a pandemic off-ramp. Whether that succeeds or fails will depend mightily on a few more weeks of personal responsibility and restraint from a restrictions-fatigued population.