My love of auto racing was sparked when Mario Andretti signed a napkin for me when I was just two-years-old. Until this year, I have never missed an Indy 500 and have sat through rain, heat, tornados, and two pregnancies to watch my favorite sport. That signature from Mario has made me a lifelong fan of the entire Andretti family, who I have always admired for their hard work, perseverance, and speed.  Although I now live in Chicago, I grew up in Indianapolis, and autosports was a huge part of my upbringing. One day as I was driving “back home again” for the Do It Best Hardware Market (where I work with wonderful retailers like Pat Sullivan of Sullivan Hardware!), John and Michael Andretti were on my favorite radio station, WIBC. Their familiar voices brought me comfort, but what they were discussing was… much less comforting. John was encouraging his cousin to get a colonoscopy, and I knew something wasn’t right. It dawned on me that John had colorectal cancer, and tears welled up in my eyes. He pitched a challenge for his family members, friends, and fans to “#CheckIt4Andretti.”  It took some time, but I finally convinced my husband that he and I needed to #CheckIt4Andretti. I had gotten a colonoscopy 15 years earlier, and worked all those years to convince my husband it was no big deal. However, the interrogation I got from my doctor after I awakened from my procedure this past fall made me feel like maybe this time, it was a big deal.  My doctor found a lesion, and after an agonizing week, we were told that it was a cancerous tumor. I was absolutely horrified, but I made follow up appointments with oncologists, radiologists, and more, to make sure we were doing all the right things to get past this. My oncologist told me that I was so lucky to have caught my cancer early, before it spread, and that it typically responded well and should be cured with the right treatments. I was scared then, and I am nervous now, two weeks after finishing my 6-week IV chemotherapy, plus daily radiation and chemo pill regimen. However, in all likelihood my cancer is gone for good and I’ll be able to get back to the normal (well, pandemic “normal”) swing of things in no time.  Without the inspiration of John’s campaign, and the attitude, bravery, and candor he always showed, I don’t know that I would have been motivated to CheckIt4Andretti, and I am so grateful to him and the entire Andretti family for encouraging us fans to take care of ourselves. I have been a lifelong fan of the entire family, and it probably saved my life. I want to double down on his mission, and will hopefully be sharing #CheckIt4Andretti with my own friends and family for many years to come. 

Categories: Testimonial