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Kody Beach was a typical, shy teenager, that is, until five months ago. That’s when doctors found a rare form of skin cancer in the 16-year-old’s foot. The cancer had already reached advanced stages. Kody’s time since has been anything but typical as it’s spent going to endless doctors appointments and undergoing various treatments.
One morning this week, Kirt and Carmen Beach packed up their son to drive the 300 miles from their Spring Creek, Nevada, home to Reno for more testing. There was an EKG, an ultrasound and X-Rays that needed to be done. After Kody left the medical clinic, he would soon learn the suitcase his parents threw in the back of the family’s truck was packed for a much longer trip.
The Beaches headed over to Rapscallion’s, a local seafood restaurant for lunch where Kody’s older brother, Cory, a freshman at University of Nevada, Reno, met them. When the family was led into the back room to be seated, Kody received the shock of a lifetime.
“Surprise!” came the scream from a room full of people, most of whom Kody had never seen. There were also several television cameras there capturing the event.
A man named Gary Kasden then stepped forward and gently asked,
“Somebody told me you’re a football fan?”
“Yes,” Kody replied softly.
“Are you a Broncos fan?” Kasden followed up.
“No,” Kody said a bit louder.
Kody’s response brought laughter from the small crowd who was in on the secret. Kody may very well become a Broncos fan this weekend. Kasden, and his wife Megan, are sending Kody to Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Kasdens actually won the all expenses paid trip themselves through a raffle they entered at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. Megan considered the purchase of the raffle tickets as a donation and never thought twice about it. When the Kasdens received a phone call in December notifying them that they were the winners, Megan remembers crying with happiness. Gary, as she tells it, ran downstairs and started packing before Megan had hung up.
In January, the Kasden’s excitement had tempered. Gary’s health took a turn for the worse. A cancer patient himself, Gary came down with pneumonia that required him to spend more than a week in the hospital. The Incline Village couple knew a trip to New York was not possible. They reached out to the people at GUMTFCC again and made another donation.
“We wanted to give this to someone but wanted it to be someone who’s really going to appreciate it,” Megan said.
The GUMTFCC worked with The Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, and Kody Beach was identified as that deserving person. When the Super Bowl tickets arrived from the NFL offices, any disappointment the Kasdens may have felt that the trip did not work out for them was quickly replaced by the sense that their gift was meant to be.
“We only won two tickets, and when they sent the tickets out, when we opened the enveloped there was really four in there,” Gary said. “It was very surprising but some angel sent two extra tickets for Kody and his family.”
When contacted about the mistake and told of the situation, the NFL agreed to extend the all expenses paid offer to the entire Beach family.
“This is such a blessing and it’s kind of a relief to actually travel and not go to a doctor’s. We’ve been to California a lot of times. He’s had five surgeries within the last five months…this is just awesome,” Kirt Beach said beaming.
“It’s probably the greatest memory we’ll ever have of us as a family…hopefully it’s one of many to come,” Cory said. “We’ve grown up a football family so it means so much.”
All four family members are longtime football fans, but have never attended an NFL game. Cory follows the Ravens. Kody likes the Eagles. Carmen and Kirt support the Giants.
Kody, for the most part, can’t put his excitement into words, but when asked how a boy from Northeastern Nevada becomes an Eagles fan, he looked over at his dad and replied smiling, “Because he’s a Giants fans.”