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. ••