Bike giveaway turns out to be a karmic fit |

Bike giveaway turns out to be a karmic fit

Carla Jean Whitley
Pat Bohman takes a test ride on the Sampson bike she won from Alpine Bank during the Children's Hospital Colorado benefit ride Courage Classic. The custom-fitted carbon bike weighs about 15.5 pounds, comparable to pro bikes used in the Tour de France, and the bike's retail value is $6,500. Shimano also helped make the bike's donation possible.
Eric Sampson |

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Children’s Hospital Colorado card

Alpine Bank’s Courage Classic booth promoted the bank’s Children’s Hospital Colorado Loyalty debit card, which launched in October. Each time a customer uses the debit card, the bank donates 10 cents to the hospital — at no cost to the cardholder. It’s one of seven such available loyalty cards. Learn more at

Kelsey’s Kids

Purchase your own marshmallow launcher — or buy them to donate to a hospital — at The launchers are $3 each and are packaged with a small bag of miniature marshmallows and a target.

Eric Sampson knew little about the person who won a custom-built Sampson bike. Before they connected, all he could guess about Pat Bohman was she lived in western Colorado — based on her area code — and she was interested in bicycles and Children’s Hospital Colorado — based on where she won the bike.

He would soon come to believe Bohman’s win was meant to be.

Bohman is the director of Kelsey’s Kids, a nonprofit born of her daughter’s fight with leukemia. July’s Courage Classic marked the 16th year Bohman has participated in the bicycle tour, which raises money for Children’s Hospital Colorado. It’s also where Bohman visited an Alpine Bank booth and registered to win the Sampson bike to be built in the founder’s Grand Avenue shop.

“She plans to ride in the Courage Classic as long as she’s physically able,” Alpine Bank Vice President and Director of Marketing Alan Sandberg said. “And she’s going to ride this bike. It really is an exciting situation and to me, I couldn’t be happier.”

Sampson and Sandberg acknowledged that Bohman winning the random drawing seemed almost too good to be true. She’s spent more than 15 years raising money and awareness for pediatric cancers through Kelsey’s Kids and the Courage Classic.

Kelsey Bohman was diagnosed with leukemia at age 11. After treatment, she was too sick to attend school, so Kelsey spent time at the lumberyard where her mother worked the customer service counter. One day the pair shot marshmallows out of a PVC pipe. Bohman remembers her daughter’s enthusiastic reaction: “I know what we can do for the kids at Children’s Hospital.”

The pair experimented with the marshmallow launcher’s design, and eventually a $5,000 grant from Alpine Bank founder Bob Young propelled the project forward. Today, Kelsey’s Kids has produced 40,000 marshmallow launchers, which provide fun, laughter — and respiratory work.

Launcher sales fund Kelsey’s Krates, 18-gallon crates filled with toys for children in bone marrow transplant units. The organization selects toys based on age, sex and, if available, the child’s interests. These children spend weeks in isolation, and the toys offer entertainment.

Bohman hopes to see more people purchase the launchers to donate to hospitals, but currently most orders come from hospitals’ child life specialists. That’s the role Kelsey, now 24, fills at Children’s.

Sampson was happy to participate in the process, he said, and building the bike was made more special because of who received it.

As Bohman awaited her final bike fitting Tuesday, she expressed excitement about riding it in future Courage Classics. She’s named each of her bicycles after children on the oncology floor, so she thinks about them when she rides. That helps keep things in perspective.

Bohman said, “When I get tired on the Courage Classic, I just think, ‘aw, geez.’”

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