Pancake Racers To Run For Levi
KSCB News - February 11, 2015 8:22 am
Nine of this year’s International racers will run on Pancake Day with one little boy in mind—McDermott Elementary Kindergartner Levi Foreman—who is battling brain cancer. The nine women all work at McDermott and are running as “Team Levi” to show their support of and raise awareness for Levi and his family.
Six-year-old Levi, son of Nathan and Sarah Foreman of Liberal, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in November and has been at The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colo. (near Denver) since that time undergoing treatment. His mom Sarah is there with him and shared her thoughts by phone.
She was touched to learn that “Team Levi” will be racing on his behalf on Pancake Day.
“We loved McDermott before all this happened they have been incredibly supportive,” Sarah said. Levi’s sister Abigail is a third-grader at McDermott, and Sarah noted that the school staff really looks out for her.
“They are so kind to Abigail and good to check in on her to see how she is doing,” Sarah said.
The Foremans have two other children in addition to Levi and Abigail: Mariah, four, and Isaac, 15 months. Dad Nathan, an attorney, divides his time between work in Liberal and travelling to Denver to be with Levi.
Levi still has many months of treatment ahead of him. After the diagnosis last November, the six-year-old underwent surgery to remove an egg-sized tumor and then began chemotherapy and radiation, which the family was told would last 51 weeks.
“At the moment he is on day 25 of 30 days of radiation,” Sarah said Monday. “He is responding well and it’s not making him as sick as they warned us it might.”
Racing for Levi was an easy decision, according to Emma Diaz, one of the teachers at McDermott, who said she battled cancer herself last year.
“We’re not sprinters or athletes. We are doing this to support Levi and his family,” she said.
Diaz added that fellow teacher Lindsay Claus entered the race first and encouraged the rest of them. Once the staff started talking about the idea of making the race a “Team Levi” event, it wasn’t hard to get others on board.
In addition to Emma Diaz and Lindsay Claus, other McDermott employees who are racing as “Team Levi” include Fatima Ortega, Ruby Diaz de leon, Jessica Palacios, Janine Varnes, Veronica Zamora, Brianda Gonzalez, and Crystal Tiscareno.
Kathy Fitzgerald, McDermott principal, said she and many others from McDermott will be cheering the racers on from the sidelines.
“I’m really proud of them for doing this, but I’m not surprised,” she said. “We are fortunate to have such a caring staff. They really do care about each and every student.”
Levi will be in the hospital this Pancake Day, but he told his mom he remembers on Pancake Day that they eat pancakes and then go watch the race from his dad’s office (which is near the race course).
Sarah said she and Nathan are grateful for everything.
“Beyond McDermott, the community of Liberal has been incredibly supportive and very helpful, she said. “We have many people praying for him and prayers have definitely been answered. He is doing really well in spite of a very scary diagnosis.”
In addition to racing, “Team Levi” will also walk as group in the Pancake Day Parade.
“It’s a long journey for the family and they are real troupers,” Diaz said. “People are supportive at first but sometimes that tapers off. We just want to raise awareness.”
For those who want to help, a chili supper benefit for Levi is planned for Feb. 26 at Liberal High School. Tickets are $7 and may be purchased in advance at McDermott Elementary, 439 S. Pennsylvania Ave., or from McDermott staff members. For more information, call McDermott at 620- 604-1800.
Those who would like to follow Levi’s progress can read posts from his parents on a Facebook community page called “Prayers for Levi.”
Donations can also be made to Levi’s medical fund through gofundme.com at http://www.gofundme.com/haj3ug