Note: portions of this article are reprinted from this week’s Backpass.
The Ford family revealed this week that Laurie Ford, mother of Rapids defender Kortne Ford, is battling cancer again. There’s a gofundme set up to help the family with the costs, and if you can, give.
As of Thursday morning, May 4th, over 125 people have donated to helping out the Ford family defray the costs of another round of cancer treatments. Most notable are some donations from current MLS players; Sporting Kansas City’s Ike Opara has donated, as has Colorado Rapids winger Joshua Gatt. Big props go to Rapids striker Kevin Doyle, who has given a very generous donation. The Rapids also contributed on Thursday afternoon.
Centennial 38 have jumped in to help in a big way! The Rapids supporters group’s ‘Oar Foundation’ will be matching all donations to the Ford family, dollar-for-dollar, up to $2400. You can donate to that campaign here.
So maybe give a little to the gofundme , and a little to the C38 Oar Foundation campaign. Every little bit helps, even $5 here or there. Skip your unicorn frappuccino tomorrow and do a good thing. Or, if you’re like me, swap out your favorite 6-pack of Renegade or Odell’s and drink PBR for a week, and give the proceeds to the Fords.
The Colorado Rapids organization is also in the process of organizing efforts to help and support the Fords through this difficult period. The club has a public show of support in the works as part of the game this Friday, May 5th, as well as the May 13th home game against San Jose.
Supporters have organized with the Rapids an effort to demonstrate our love and support for Laurie as she undergoes treatment by standing and applauding during the 24th minute (Kort’s number is 24). The Rapids plan to announce the effort on the digital board in advance. So if you’re going to the game tomorrow, be ready to get on your feet at 23:01 and stand and clap until 24:00.
Rapids fans, including me, will also be bringing signs and two-poles to show support for Laurie and Kort. DSGP permits hand-held signs throughout the stadium. If you plan to bring a two-pole, you’ll need to be sitting in C38’s section, section 117, in order to display it.
If you’re not familiar with Kort’s story, well, it’s heartbreaking and inspiring and amazing all at the same time. Kort’s parents divorced, and during his visits with his dad he was hit; he was starved; he was locked in a closet. Shortly after Kort and his mother moved to Colorado, Kort’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the family was forced to spend every dime on treatment. After a successful academy career with the Rapids Youth team, Kort stayed nearby at the University of Denver to be close to his mom during her cancer treatments.
Kort isn’t just some player for this team: he’s a Colorado Rapid, through and through. He’s been in the stands with us since he was just a kid. He was one of those bright-eyed youngsters, holding hands with a player on the march onto the field. He was one of the thousands of kids with grass-stained knees playing soccer through a late-spring Colorado snow and playing tournaments in Broomfield and Aurora and Boulder. He could just as easily be one of our sons or daughters or brothers or sisters. He is us. We are him.
Kort and Laurie are part of our Rapids family, and we should support them. Again, if you’ll be at the game, make a sign before you go with something supportive and/or clever: ‘We love you Kort and Laurie’, ‘Kick out Cancer’, or my personal choice ‘Built Ford Tough’.
I know fans are a little preoccupied with the team’s struggles right now. But 10 years from now, you might not even remember the wins and losses from this season. But you will remember standing up for the Fords. Together, we can make a moment that will elevate the Fords, and the team, and each other. If the team is struggling to create memories on the field, then we can create a memory in the stands. A memory that shows our love for the Rapids family.
Soccer has to be bigger than 22 guys kicking a ball. It has to be a vessel for creating community and uplifting our brothers and sisters whenever possible. Then, even when we lose, we win.