My first son, Noah, was born on October 30, 2000 with a congenital heart defect that had not been detected in utero. After being transported to two different hospital NICU's, he was given a low chance of survival. He was transported to Children's Hospital Colorado as a last hope about 36 hours after birth, and in less than an hour after arriving in the CHC Cath Lab he was given a proper diagnosis and a "temporary fix," and as his parents we were given hope that our son might survive.
Noah underwent open-heart surgery when he was 18 days old and was released in time to celebrate his first Christmas at home. He is now 17 years old, and everything you could ever hope for in your child. He has his license (gulp!), he loves to play the violin, swim, ski, golf, and play with his little brother, Ben, who is 14. He is just finishing up his junior year of high school and is taking all of his classes at the college. He volunteers at Children's (via Memorial Central) every Friday. He has a kind heart and a special knack with young children and the elderly. Perhaps his favorite thing to do is spend time at his Gaga and Papa's house. Papa, (my father Bill), is almost 77 and rides the Classic every year too!
Over the past few years Noah underwent four orthopedic surgeries on both knees and both ankles to correct some alignment issues. (These were performed at Children’s, of course!) In May of 2015, he was airlifted to Children's from Colorado Springs following a parasailing accident in April which led to a build-up of his spinal fluid pressure. His attitude remained so positive through all of these challenges - he is truly a trooper!
Our time at CHC was bittersweet...We had many fears and worries, ups and downs, but we were treated with so much care and compassion that sometimes we as the parents felt like the patients! We cannot say enough about the doctors and nurses who tended to Noah (and us!) during our stay. We are forever indebted to Children's Hospital Colorado...the Courage Classic is just one small way we can give back.
With all the uncertainty that enveloped us during Noah's first year of life, we held close to the hope that someday we would be a "normal" (ha!) family, doing fun, family things. We looked forward to picnics, playdates, family and school celebrations, and just being together without worrying about illness. Well, we've reached that point. The Classic is a great way to celebrate that. I have been blessed with the time to train instead of sitting next to his bed in a hospital; he has been blessed with a now healthy heart and strong legs which allow him to be an energetic young man who isn't shying away from a long ride! This is an annual challenge he and I will NEVER forget.
So keep your eyes open for Noah during the family ride - he’ll be huffing and puffing alongside his Papa and me, but not giving up. That’s NOT in his heart....