Champion cyclist, cancer survivor turns 90


Somer­ton’s Nick For­gione, who be­came a cham­pi­on bi­cycle rider and a pro­lif­ic fund-raiser after a can­cer dia­gnos­is in 1983, cel­eb­rated his 90th birth­day Sunday af­ter­noon at Boulevard Diner.

Fam­ily and friends joined For­gione, whose ac­tu­al mile­stone birth­day is on Fri­day.

For­gione was dia­gnosed with colorectal can­cer on May 9, 1983, and he in­vited every­one in at­tend­ance to come back to Boulevard Diner next year to mark 30 years of sur­viv­al after the dia­gnos­is. He is also a six-year sur­viv­or of pro­state can­cer and over­came a severe bowel ob­struc­tion in 2004.

A 1940 North­east High School gradu­ate, For­gione en­lis­ted in the U.S. Navy on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Ja­pan­ese at­tack on Pearl Har­bor.

After his ser­vice in World War II, he worked three years at East­ern State Pen­it­en­tiary be­fore join­ing the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment. He was as­signed to the high­way patrol di­vi­sion. Today, he’s the old­est liv­ing former high­way patrol­man and Boy Scout at the old St. Bonaven­ture Par­ish in North Phil­adelphia. He worked as a private in­vest­ig­at­or after leav­ing the po­lice force.

After be­ing dia­gnosed with can­cer, For­gione shunned chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­ation in fa­vor of diet, ex­er­cise, vit­am­ins and faith.

For­gione par­ti­cip­ated in and helped or­gan­ize bike-a-thons sponsored by Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter and the Amer­ic­an Can­cer So­ci­ety, rais­ing tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. One trip took him from Fox Chase to the White House. He climbed the Manay­unk Wall and has biked along with Tour de France win­ners Greg LeM­ond, Miguel In­durain and Lance Arm­strong. He also won mul­tiple gold medals at the In­ter­na­tion­al Po­lice Olympics and is a mem­ber of the Pennsylvania Po­lice Hall of Fame.

Over the years, For­gione has been honored by the U.S. Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives and the Pennsylvania Sen­ate.

For­gione and his wife Nora will cel­eb­rate their 68th wed­ding an­niversary in Oc­to­ber.

Deeply re­li­gious, For­gione at­tends Mass daily at St. Chris­toph­er Church, where he is a lect­or, ush­er and Euchar­ist­ic min­is­ter. He is also plan­ning to at­tend his 99th re­treat as part of the Men of Mal­vern. ••


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