Crushing, that’s the only way Chris Schneider can describe viewing an X-ray of his son Ronan’s spinal cord with a tumor compressing against his brain stem. “Being a parent who doesn’t have any medical training, I thought there was nothing they could do about it,” he says. After a dozen or more visits to doctors, they finally had an answer to Ronan’s persistent neck pain.
He and his wife, Kristy Bassuener, went into scramble mode, scouring the Internet for medical information about pilocytic astrocytoma tumors. Then, while speaking with doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado before Ronan’s surgery, they found some reassurance, sensing the doctors had an underlying confidence they could remove the tumor without damaging other tissue.
On June 26, 2013, Ronan had a successful spinal cord surgery. “Within two or three hours of being in the pediatric intensive care unit, we realized there were families going through way harder situations than ours,” Schneider says. “It was a dark moment, but a moment we realized we are tremendously lucky.”
Ronan has virtually no problems now, though doctors will continue to monitor the tumor site. Initially after surgery, he needed an MRI every 3 months. Then they moved to every 6 months, and now yearly.
The family is grateful for Children’s Hospital Colorado. On July 19–20, Schneider rode the Courage Classic, a bike ride through Breckenridge that donates all proceeds to improving care at the hospital. He rode 84 miles over two days; the first day from Vail to Copper and back, including a 15-mile stretch of steep incline. The second day he rode from Vail to Keystone and back, which he says was much more mellow than the previous day. The ride was very family friendly—many people rode with kids in chariots or on tandems—and he plans to bring Ronan next year.
Schneider raised $1,860, exceeding his goal of $1,500. Children’s Hospital Colorado will be accepting donations until the end of August. “I want to do anything I can for Children’s because they gave us tremendous treatment,” Schneider says. To read other riders’ stories and to donate, visit: http://www.couragetours.com > donate.