For many of us, the alarm goes off in the morning and we immediately begin our daily routines. We pour the cup of coffee, get the kids ready for school and head off to our daily responsibilities. Life can feel like a series of expected left turns, racing toward the end of the day when we can sit down and relax.
While most of us run this race day after day without stopping, more than 1.5 million Americans’ lives are brought to a screeching halt every year. Breast cancer is one of the better-known and more talked about cancers. In fact, it’s so prevalent you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected – whether directly or through someone they know.
So, to honor some of the brave individuals who have battled or are still fighting the disease, our ministry is teaming up with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year!
The Spire Motorsports No. 77 race car’s latest paint job will include a very special tribute that will be put on display during the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 this coming weekend on Oct. 10 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Twenty-seven local women, in various stages of their journey with breast cancer, will have their names displayed across the hood of the car.
One of those women is 41-year-old Kristen Gault (pictured above, second from left) who was still considered too young for a mammogram in 2017 when she found a tumor the size of her thumb during a breast self-exam. The discovery led to a breast cancer diagnosis followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, 33 rounds of radiation and more oral chemo. Although the journey was difficult, Kristen can now proudly proclaim she is cancer-free and very much looking forward to race day and plans to attend.
“I remember going to races with my dad, getting the air brush T-shirt and sunburn, and the smell of burnt rubber,” she recalls. “I always loved watching the races and listening to them on family trips in the car.”
Kristen adds, “to be recognized on a race car truly means so much and is such an honor. With my dad going to every single chemo treatment with me, being one of my biggest cheerleaders during my cancer journey, this not only means a lot to me, but is ultimately super cool for my dad.”
Dana Lynn (pictured above, second from right) also happens to be a big NASCAR fan. She’s currently in chemotherapy at the Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center. She says the race day tribute is giving her something positive to focus on.
“It is a huge honor for me, personally, and for cancer patients everywhere,” Dana shares. “I’m thankful for the awareness it will bring as this touches more lives than they could imagine. I’m so honored to be a part of a team who is committed to raising awareness for those suffering.”
Some of the names also represent caretakers who have seen both sides of this devastating disease. Sarah Batson, a nurse navigator at the Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center (pictured above, far left), helps guide others through a journey she was forced to experience firsthand, after being diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago this month.
“Breast cancer is such an emotional diagnosis,” Sarah says. “I learned a lot going through diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation – and all of it, I feel, has made me a better navigator. I love my patients and am so privileged to walk with them through this journey.”
Sarah has finished treatment and is currently in surveillance mode. Meanwhile her co-worker, Kristin Woodard (pictured above with her family, far right), is still in the middle of treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis that she received just two months ago. Kristin works as an ultrasound tech at Bon Secours Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health. At the age of 36, she never imagined receiving such news, but, like Sarah, she hopes the experience will make her a better health care worker.
“This is such an ugly disease and a hard fight, and I believe in finding the silver lining as much as possible,” Kristin shares. “I attended my first NASCAR race at the age of 16, and it’s so special to be recognized in such an amazing, public way and to encourage others in this battle. So many have fought before me, and will fight after me, and this is a beautiful way to be honored!”
The Bank of America ROVAL 400 will be televised live on NBC this Sunday, Oct. 10 beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.
Learn about the mammograms and breast health services we offer at Bon Secours.