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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Patrick Foster

Nov 03, 2014 05:11PM ● Published by Amber Foster

To his students, he’s Spiderman. Eight years ago, Patrick Foster was bitten by a brown recluse spider while asleep in his apartment. Far from giving him superpowers, however, the spider bite resulted in near-fatal complications, including the removal of his right triceps muscle. In a strange twist of fate, the spider bite also led doctors to the discovery of a tumor in Foster’s spinal column, which was successfully removed. “The tumor would have paralyzed me in six months to a year,” Foster explains.
The experience changed Foster’s entire perspective on life. After a long recovery, he gave up his career in finance to work in education. As a longtime lifeguard and competitive swimmer (he was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame for swimming and water polo in 2007), Foster found a new career as head swimming coach at Oak Ridge High School. Until just recently—when he was offered an internship and teaching position—Foster worked as an educational aide and substitute teacher at Odyssey Learning Center in Orangevale, a center for children with autism. In his time off, Foster is busy pursuing a master’s degree in special education. While it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day, Foster also volunteers his time giving water safety talks and swimming lessons to children with disabilities; and he’s an active participant in Help Mito Kids (, an organization that does an annual run/walk in El Dorado County to support kids with mitochondrial disease. “I’m truly thankful that I’m still here,” Foster says, remembering the horrific experience of eight years ago. “The focus of my life is now more on helping others and giving back.”

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