The Story Behind the Foundation

Many people ask us how we came to start the foundation. This is an account of Garrett’s Cancer and our family’s struggle. Please don’t feel obligated to read through this section. On one hand it has nothing to do with our foundation and on the other hand it has everything to do with our foundation. So if you choose to continue please make sure you go back and also look at the rest of our project. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve others and have met some incredible people through this endeavor.

One question before I begin…If you or someone you loved were given a 50/50 chance of surviving the next 5 years and assuming great health up to the end what would you do different?

I find myself crying at each bike presentation. Each event is so moving. It would seem odd to cry at such a happy event, but for me it is a reminder of a deeply painful moment in my life. The following pictures are a snapshot in time. I hope it allows you a glimpse into where our family came from just prior to creating the Rush Miller Foundation. RMF represents to me a “Triumph through Tragedy”. Please note, I said “through” and not ‘over’ tragedy. Cancer is a sinister disease.

Providence has blessed us with a wonderful vision to help ease our pain by helping other families.

Our story began on a Thursday evening. I skipped a company meeting to go watch Garrett play T-ball. We noticed he was having some balance problems and couldn’t place the ball on the T-holder. This was odd for him. On Friday, Nancy (my wife), took Garrett to the doctor who immediately sent him for a CT scan. We knew immediately the news was bad when we were placed in the quiet room and notified the doctor was coming to meet us at the emergency department…at 6 PM.

The rest is really a blur. On June 24, 2000, Garrett was taken into surgery at 11AM at Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado. A golf ball sized tumor was removed from the back of his head. He was later diagnosed with a medulloblastoma (malignant brain tumor). At the time of diagnosis he was given a 50/50 chance of surviving 5 years. Since then the odds have dramatically increase to over 80% survivability.

Garrett lay with his life in the balance with a a ventilator breathing for him after the surgery. He was blind, mute, and paralyzed. Garrett had to relearn to walk, potty train, and talk again. He endured 6 weeks of radiation and a 64 week chemotherapy cycle.

So I began by asking the question, “If you or someone you loved were given a 50/50 chance of surviving the next 5 years and assuming great health up to the end what would you do different? ” …………………………………………………………..Then why don’t you do it?

For our family the question is real…that’s why a foundation…Ironman…NYC Face of America…and ?

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