GJ family rides Courage Classic to support Children’s Hospital
Katy Brown doesn’t have to look far to find inspiration to ride in the annual Courage Classic.
The Grand Junction pediatric nurse, who is the mother of two children, finds all the incentive she needs in her job.
“Most everyone has a personal connection,” Brown said. “I definitely think of some of the children I see and the struggles their families go through.”
Brown, her husband, daughter and son rode in the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation Courage Classic bicycle tour this past weekend.
Brown’s family was part of the 15-member Sonja’s Soldiers team riding for a friend’s young girl, Sonja, born with DiGeorge Syndrome.
DiGeorge Syndrome is a disease that affects the chromosomes. Symptoms include birth defects such as congenital heart disease, defects, neuromuscular problems and learning disabilities.
“We ride for her and our patients at the office, oncology patients whom the doctor I work with provides care for during and after treatment in Denver,” Brown said. “So you ride for all, but each rider probably has personal connections, too.”
The tour, in its 22nd year, is a 157-mile benefit ride for Children’s Hospital of Colorado and its patients.
The tour had a capacity 2,000 riders, including a team of former and current patients who ride a small portion of the event.
“It is an amazing group of people,” Brown said of the people who participate in the annual ride. “You see people atop the pass when some are just getting started, to families and friends that are supporting families with kids being treated at Children’s Hospital.”
The cyclists raised more than $2 million, according to Children’s Hospital Communication Manager Monique Bronner. Donations are still being accepted through Monday.
The donations go to research, advocacy and improved health care for the hospital’s patients, including the hospital’s sports program to encourage children with physical disabilities to try activities.
The route began last Saturday in Leadville and headed north over Tennessee Pass (10,404 feet) and into Vail. From there, it ascended Vail Pass (10,666) to Copper Mountain Resort for a first-day ride of 58 miles and 3,985 feet of elevation gain.
On the second day, riders had three options, a 35-mile family ride through Frisco to Breckenridge, a 54-mile ride around Lake Dillon or a 100-mile ride up Ute Pass.
The third day took the riders over Fremont Pass (11,318 feet), around Turquoise Lake and back to Leadville.
Sonja’s Soldiers raised $6,450. Brown said the team has raised $30,000 in three years.
Brown’s daughter, Zoe, rode it for the first time by herself this year. Although the 10-year-old didn’t ride the entire route, she rode close to 130 miles, her mother said.
Two years ago, Zoe was on a tandem bike with her mother. Brown’s son, Beckett, 9, rode the tandem bike this year.
“I was impressed she got up with us each morning,” Brown said.