Greeley Central gymnasium to host one last chance to share a smile with Laurie Ford – Greeley Tribune

Kortne Ford remembers how her mother, Laurie, refused to dwell on the negatives, even though for years she had every reason in the world to do so.

Naturally, before Laurie died a month ago from a long-standing battle with breast cancer, she made her son promise one thing mentioned in her will: there would be no traditional funeral and dark for her.

So when hundreds of Laurie’s friends, family and admirers gather at Greeley Central High School’s Jim Baggot Gymnasium on Saturday, the environment will be anything but solemn.

Rather, it will be a celebration, in the same festive and positive spirit in which Laurie has lived her life.

“She wanted to celebrate life and she wanted it to be open to the public,” Kortne said. “She was a fighter. But she didn’t fight like most people think. She fought in silence and she never wanted anyone to know she was going through anything. Her smile and her energy were infectious. She would walk into a room and light it up just because of her positive energy.

Ford’s celebration takes place on Saturday at 11 a.m. and the public – and everyone Laurie has raised over the years – are invited.

Laurie Ford, 56, died on December 12, almost five years after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time. She was only given three to six months to live, but she lived years longer than the doctors expected.

His son, Kortne, is one of Greeley’s most successful former athletes. He graduated from Greeley Central in 2014 and is a five-year veteran professional soccer player for the MLS Colorado Rapids.

Colorado Rapids center-back Kortne Ford, right, looks up on April 15, 2017, against Real Salt Lake in Commerce City. (File photo)

As successful as Kortne has been in the field, he is quick to point out who has always been the true superstar of the Ford family.

“She was driving me to Greeley (football) training in South Denver – two hours to train and two hours at home – after teaching every day, while she was in chemotherapy class and radiation therapy, ”Kortne said of his dedication. and loving mother. “This is just one of the many sacrifices she made to give me an opportunity. … This is the only reason I am where I am today.

While Kortne, 25, no doubt makes his mother proud and influences a whole new generation of aspiring footballers in Greeley and northern Colorado, he is only following in his mother’s footsteps as he makes an impact. on the lives of young people.

Laurie spent 30 years teaching, including 11 years teaching math in Greeley-Evans School District 6 for Brentwood Middle School and Greeley Central.

Much like she did with her own son, Laurie had an incredible talent for inspiring young people to reach heights they never thought possible.

“It was her goal in life to make an impact and affect the children around her,” Kortne said. “It was her whole life and her whole purpose. When my mom couldn’t work because of her illness – she must have had a medical disability – she struggled mentally.… It was her whole life, being able to have impacting children’s lives She showed love to every student who entered her room.

Laurie only taught in areas that had disadvantaged children, as she was determined to help those who needed it most. She even used the little money in her pocket to buy food for children who could not afford their own lunch.

And now, Laurie’s fellow teachers, alumni, friends, families and supporters will have the chance to share another uplifting moment with Laurie on Saturday.

Even though some tears are likely to flow, Kortne doesn’t want the event to be depressing.

This is not what his mother would have wanted. And that’s certainly not how Laurie lived her life, even in her later years, while battling a terrible disease.

“You would never know she was sick,” Kortne said. “It didn’t matter how much pain she was – when she was doing chemo, radiation therapy. If you asked her how she was, the first thing that came out of her mouth was “Awesome” or “Amazing”.

“She was so optimistic, so positive. And I think that’s a huge reason she lived as long as she did.

Bobby Fernandez covers high school sports for the Greeley Tribune. Contact him at (970) 392-4478, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez.

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