Greg Bachman – Reason for Riding 2019 Courage Classic
I have been a rider in the Courage Classic bicycling fundraiser in the past and have had the honor of riding for children who have been under the care of physicians and medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Colorado. My friend Dr. Bettina Cuneo is a Fetal Cardiologist at Children’s Hospital and has encouraged me to participate in this wonderful event over the past few years. The dedication and talent of the staff at Children’s Hospital is exemplified by Dr. Cuneo.
I am especially honored this year to ride as a representative of Eli, a patient of Dr. Cuneo at Children’s Hospital. Eli faced some challenges early on in his life, but thanks to his parents love and the hospital’s medical team, he is doing wonderfully. See the story from Eli’s parents below.
We are so honored and beyond grateful that this fundraiser is dedicated to our baby Eli. His first birthday is on July 17th, and there is no better way to celebrate his strong heart and how grateful we are to have him in our lives.
At 20 weeks of pregnancy, we discovered that our Eli has a rare and significant size mass in the left ventricle of his heart. There were many questions regarding the type of tumor, growth rate, if we’ll make it to full-term pregnancy safely, and whether surgery was imminent after birth. We were in a state of constant fear and concern for our unborn child, however, there was never doubt that we were in good hands. The Fetal Care team at Children’s made sure we were well informed about our baby’s condition, using state-of-the-art equipment and cardiology experts. We were very impressed with the interdisciplinary collaboration. They were also there for all our emotional needs; there were many times we needed hugs and tissues, as well as many fortunate visits when we all celebrated small wins. We were also happy to learn that they recently purchased an fMCG machine. This is a diagnostic device that confirmed the accuracy of information about Eli’s fetal heart function and shifted opinions over the type of heart tumor Eli has, which was a major turning point for us as we learned better news. As there were only 2 fMCGs in the country, we traveled to University of Wisconsin and participated in an ongoing study that assessed the value of this diagnostic tool. Now that the Cardiology department in CO acquired one, we are thrilled for all the families that can get time-sensitive answers, and can only imagine how much advancement can be accomplished in the field of Cardiology.
At birth, Eli’s resilience surprised everyone. Although he was born with a mass that took over 40% of his heart, miraculously his heart did NOT skip a beat!!! Meanwhile, seeing his big beautiful eyes for the first time made our hearts skip MANY beats. We were all shocked when notified that surgery was going to be postponed, as there was no immediate need. Now that he is almost a year old, we are still riding the rollercoaster of the unknown as to the nature of this tumor. For a while, it appeared to be shrinking, but recently we learned that it’s beginning to grow again and that surgery is being considered for the near future. We are very hopeful and trust Dr. Cuneo and the rest of the cardiology team at Children’s to guide us to the best decisions for our little guy.
When you see Eli, it’s easy to forget that there is anything going wrong. He is one of the happiest babies we’ve ever seen. At 10 months, he is crawling everywhere, loves to play throw/catch with the ball, dances to every beat (recent favorites seem to be Pharrell’s Freedom song and Wheel of Fortune’s opening song). He is on his way to becoming a foodie, calls everything “dada,” and he’ll occasionally get excited to see his dog Bernardy and yells out “DEEDEE.”
Deedee and Eli have the best brotherly relationship! Eli finds it amusing to feed him his snacks, throws toys for him to fetch, and takes his sweet time to learn about “gentle hands.” Bernard has mastered his big brother responsibilities as well; he will alert Mommy and Daddy when Eli is being a troublemaker, especially when Eli is on his way to the doggie water bowl.
Eli is also getting ready to embark on his first European voyage to Italy and also meet his great grandma in Israel.
We can’t wait to cheer Greg to the finish line and be present at this very meaningful ride for Eli and the future of other children. We’re excited to attach a very important page to Eli’s baby book, so that he can hopefully look back and remember all the incredible people that made his heart even stronger, and be inspired to find his way to pay it forward.
Leetal, Josh, Eli, and Bernard
I look forward to completing the ride and successfully raising funds for this great cause.