Andrew Harrison was one of several former UK players back on campus this weekend to help out with the John Calipari ProCamps and yesterday morning, he had a very special assistant at the Cincinnati camp: 11-year-old Toby Foster. Toby suffers from mitochondrial disease, a progressive, incurable metabolic disorder which causes a deficit in life sustaining energy. We’ve mentioned Toby before; you probably remember him as the sweet kid who wrote John Calipari a letter to make sure his mother, Amy, had a good time at the UK Basketball women’s clinic. He’s also Jared Lorenzen’s cousin and a huge Kentucky fan.
Toby’s had a rough go of it lately. A dangerous new blood clot has formed and gone to his brain, making life very, very difficult. He has a lot of restrictions, especially concerning travel, but luckily, the ProCamp he was registered for was close enough to his hospital in Cincinnati that the doctors gave him permission to attend.
This was originally supposed to be Toby’s first ever sports camp. With a lot of rest breaks and accommodations, Toby was going to get to play basketball with the other kids, but because of the blood clot and medications he’s on, that was no longer an option; however, the folks at ProCamps found him a new role as Andrew Harrison’s assistant for the day. The looks on Toby and Andrew’s face say it all.
I spoke with Toby’s mother Amy, who said that although the summer has been very hard on her son and the family, UK-related moments like yesterday’s give Toby a lot of joy. Earlier this summer, Tom Leach came to Toby’s 5th grade graduation party/mitochondrial disease awareness event with the Lexington Legends and spoke to the crowd about Toby’s battle. Amy said Toby was awestruck. Three days later, he was admitted to the hospital. Since then, Amy says “he has been fighting for his life.”
Thanks to his cousin Jared Lorenzen, Toby will have another Big Blue-related event to look forward to in September. When Jared found out he was being inducted, he called Toby and Amy to invite them. “There’s just nothing like the hearts of those who bleed blue,” Amy said.