“He was a force of nature, Ron was absolute force of nature,” says Barbara Foley, remembering her husband of twenty-nine years who became ill in 2005. “He had an endoscopy and discovered the pancreatic cancer and it was a stunner…but he survived for just about a year after he was diagnosed and he never stopped.”
After Ron’s death, Barbara pledged to raise awareness of this brutal disease often undetected until advanced. Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain and bloating.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2018, approximately 55,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease. Of those, about 44,000 will die.
The shocking statistics prompted Barbara to plan a backyard event to create change.
“It was a Kentucky Derby party – for friends and neighbors – everyone was so supportive,” remembers Barbara. “It was so much fun, it was just spectacular.”
The Ron Foley Foundation was born.
“Our mission is to raise funds for research, to raise awareness through education, and raise funds for pancreatic cancer patients in need,” explains Barbara.
Thanks to the yearly gala – Ron’s Run for the Roses – now held at Folly Farms – the organization has raised an astounding 2.2 million dollars, giving grants to local hospitals and helping more than 150 patients.
“Awareness is everything, knowledge is power,” says Barbara.
The Foleys are making a difference – in a positive way – keeping Ron’s zest for life very much alive.
“I think this event and our organization just epitomizes his spirit and his life,” says Barbara.
The 11th Annual Ron’s Run for the Roses will take place Saturday, May 4th with News 8’s Joe Furey as emcee and auctioneer.
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