Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised $1,000 at last month’s Cherry Creek Garden Tour through tickets and our raffle. Last Thursday, I was extremely honored to present a check for that amount to the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation, one of my favorite Denver charities.

It has a strong Cherry Creek tie thanks to its founder, former Denver Bronco offensive guard Zane Beadles. Cherry Creek North is a standout partner with the nonprofit; a third of the 150 restaurants and retailers that participate in its Parade Partners Card Program (more on that below) are in the neighborhood.

The Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce recognized the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation as the 2017 Nonprofit of the Year!

Beadles, who played four years for the Denver Broncos and most recently with the San Francisco 49ers, visited our offices last week to collect the check.

Zane with a ZBPF participant.

The 5-year-old foundation touches my heart for many reasons, chief among them being its focus on helping kids facing life-threatening illnesses and their families navigate the hardship that comes with confronting that hardship.

ZBPF and its supporters believe life is about the journey not the destination, and in making the journey better for children and their families going through life-threatening medical experiences.

How to participate

Zane in action as a Denver Bronco.

In addition to an annual golf tournament in Utah, where Zane is from, the ZBPF’s chief fundraiser is its Parade Partners Card. Cards, which go for $60, give recipients 20 percent off products and services at over 150 participating Denver businesses between Oct. 26 and Nov. 4. (Click here for a list of participating businesses.)

You can buy a card here. 

2018 goals — Zane Zone

For 2018, the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation is raising money for the Zane Zone, a special playroom at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children where kids can go forget about their illness. In the Zane Zone, their recovery is not discussed — they don’t have nurses or doctors coming around checking them. They can just be kids.

The foundation also works to bring WiFi spots into hospitals to give parents of patients the flexibility to work and be there with their child.

About Zane + ZBPF

Zane experiencing the great strength of a ZBPF participant.

The ZBPF features an elephant in its logo. Its origin story helps explain Zane and the foundation.

Zane was sitting around after practice one day with fellow offensive linemen and they were talking, of all things, about spirit animals. They were figuring out spirit animals for each of them. Zane and the linemen pegged an elephant for Zane, because elephants are somewhat protective. Elephants are also a symbol of luck in some cultures.

The elephant became Zane’s spirit animal, and he incorporated it into his foundation.

Q&A with Zane

What’s your favorite part of ZBPF?
My favorite part is when I have the opportunity to go visit the kids and families in the hospital. Even when they’re going through hard times, they usually still have a smile on their faces which really puts life into perspective.

What are some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with your foundation?
The most memorable experiences I’ve had are the stories I hear from kids about their experience. One story that comes to mind is a boy we met in Jacksonville, Florida who was from Scotland. We provided a day of surf lessons, and he told us he was so happy to do something outside and athletic because he wasn’t sure if he was ever going to be able to do something active like that again.

What do you love most about playing in the NFL?
All the different people from different backgrounds that I’ve met over the years. I believe it has helped me to be a better man to understand the perspectives of people that grew up so differently than me.

What are you and ZBPF focused on now?
Our key goal this year is to make the Parade Partners Card fundraiser a huge success so that we can be closer to building our first Zane’s Zone in Denver!