Cancer is one of the scariest words you can ever hear. Nothing will shock you more than when you get that call from the doctor. On November 4th of 2021, I got that call. Life was great! I was 43 years old and in solid health with-an amazing wife and 2 beautiful kids, ages 4 and 6. This may sound crazy, but I am a very lucky man. So lucky! Please let me explain.
My first job after graduating from college was working as a public relations and sponsor services coordinator for Chance 2 Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt INC (DEI). I was very fresh to say the least. John Andretti drove the 81 Cup Series car in a one-off race at the 2003 Brickyard 400 for DEL I had the privilege of meeting John. During the short (maybe IO-minute meeting), he gave me a few quotes for a press release and answered a few silly questions for the DEi website. He was great -so nice to me and treated me with respect. He drove a handful of races for us during 2004 and every time I would see him, he always spoke. His kindness meant a lot.
Fast forward to 2017. I was working for Camping World (CW) in Concord, NC selling
motorhomes. John really was instrumental in helping CW get involved in auto racing. During
this time, he and a great friend of mine, Josh Erickson (VP of CW), became good friends. One afternoon Josh came by the dealership and said that he and John had just had lunch. John had
told him about his colon cancer. They talked about the importance of getting a colonoscopy and being a strong advocate for your own health. Josh shared the conversation with me.
In the summer of 2021, I began experiencing some issues with bleeding and pain. It was
embarrassing and so I kept it to myself thinking that it would go away. Well it got worse, so I went to the doctor and asked about having a colonoscopy. I was told no because I was 43 years old with no immediate family history. I was told that I didn’t need one until I reached the age of 50.But he never really did anything to examine the problem. I was pretty ticked off. I had thought about what John said to Josh Erickson about being a strong advocate for your health. Then I realized that I attended church with the surgeon in our small town that performs colonoscopies! After seeing him, he agreed that I needed to have one.
The results came back that it was cancer. However, I was lucky, we had caught the cancer at an early stage. I give thanks to the power of prayer, the great doctors and nurses at MD Anderson and my amazing wife who has been to every appointment and surgery. She was my cheerleader when I would get down, and my caregiver when it got tough. She fought this battle with me, side by side. We won this battle.
Looking back at the last 7 months of this crazy rollercoaster we have been on, I realize how
lucky I am. Lucky to have met John and the impression that he left on me. Lucky that in this
small world, he and Josh Erickson were friends and that he had shared his story with Josh, which led to me fighting and not accepting no for an answer. I am thankful to John for being willing to share his story. He was the reason I went the extra step to get my colonoscopy. l f I had waited until l was 50, I would not have stood a chance to see my children graduate from high school. Thanks to John Andretti for sharing; it saved my life. Checkit4andretti will continue changing lives for many others.
In conclusion, I would like to say that sometimes we are stubborn or maybe a little scared to get checked. Colonoscopies save lives -it saved mine by catching it early. Checkit4Andretti.