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The Foelsch sisters support their father through stage four cancer recovery

Over+the+holidays%2C+sophomore+Maddi+Foelsch+and+senior+Alex+Foelsch+pose+for+a+family+photo+with+their+dad.+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m+so+happy+it+all+worked+out+because+I+don%E2%80%99t+know+what+I+would+do+without+him%2C%E2%80%9D+Maddi+said.
Over the holidays, sophomore Maddi Foelsch and senior Alex Foelsch pose for a family photo with their dad. “I’m so happy it all worked out because I don’t know what I would do without him,” Maddi said.

Over the holidays, sophomore Maddi Foelsch and senior Alex Foelsch pose for a family photo with their dad. “I’m so happy it all worked out because I don’t know what I would do without him,” Maddi said.

Courtesy of Alex Foelsch

Courtesy of Alex Foelsch

Over the holidays, sophomore Maddi Foelsch and senior Alex Foelsch pose for a family photo with their dad. “I’m so happy it all worked out because I don’t know what I would do without him,” Maddi said.

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Whether it is during a Sunday night scrimmage in the backyard or hearing him cheer them on during a soccer game, senior Alex Foelsch and sophomore Maddi Foelsch have always felt the support of their father, Geoffrey Foelsch. Last year, the sisters witnessed their father’s perseverance as he battled stage four colon and rectal cancer.

“[Doctors] initially found 12 small tumors in addition to a softball size tumor in my rectum, small tumor in my femur and multiple cancer cells in my lymph nodes,” G. Foelsch said. “The doctors only gave me 18 months to live.”

Shocked at his diagnosis, the news was difficult for him to deliver to his family.

“We sat down at the table, and he said he went to the doctor and found out he had cancer,” M. Foelsch said. “I was shocked—it was so surreal. I never thought this would happen to my family.”

Despite the severity of his condition, G. Foelsch strived to maintain an optimistic mindset.

“I assured [A. and M. Foelsch] that I have always been and will now always be a tenacious fighter,” G. Foelsch said. “They assured me they would be in my corner supporting me fully with only one outcome in mind: recovery with remission.”

A. and M. Foelsch worked towards this goal by helping around the house, preparing meals and staying strong for their younger siblings.

“Alex and I would make him food and play with my little brothers,” M. Foelsch said. “We tried to do for him what he’s always done for us and show him how much we love him.”

This unconditional support further motivated G. Foelsch to continue fighting through very painful and intense forms of treatment.

“Every time I was feeling tired and near death from the chemotherapy, I would remember why I was fighting so hard,” G. Foelsch said. “[It was] simply for my kids and the privilege to continue being their dad.”

My doctors can’t fully, medically explain it. There’s always a chance this will come back, but for now, my life as a dad that loves my kids unconditionally carries on.”

— Geoffrey Foelsch

Treatment involved 24 rounds of chemotherapy, surgery leaving a 19-inch scar and an implanted pump that released chemotherapy drugs into his liver.

“[Despite his cancer treatments] my dad has always been at every game, every school event and always right by our side,” A. Foelsch said. “I would see him [in the crowd] wearing his chemo bag and cheering us on.”

As time and treatment progressed, G. Foelsch’s condition began improving, the tumors began to decrease in size and the surgery proved successful. As of 2018, he is officially cancer free and will be finishing up his last chemo treatment.

“My doctors can’t fully, medically explain it,” G. Foelsch said. “There’s always a chance this will come back, but for now, my life as a dad that loves my kids unconditionally carries on.”

Coming out of the situation with such a miraculous outcome has allowed A. Foelsch to have a different outlook on life when it comes to hardship.

After thinking I’m not going to have my dad, I’ve learned things can come out in the best way [even] if you don’t expect it.”

— Alex Foelsch

“I have learned not to think the worst of things in situations because I am someone who overthinks everything,” A. Foelsch said. “After thinking I’m not going to have my dad, I’ve learned things can come out in the best way [even] if you don’t expect it.”

Now that he is cancer-free, G. Foelsch is able to return to his favorite activities.

“I get to see many more seasons of sports and watch my children persevere on the field. I love to see they have the fight of their dad to win,” G. Foelsch said. “I’m looking forward to many more years with my kids.”

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The Foelsch sisters support their father through stage four cancer recovery