Cancer doesn’t care. It doesn’t discriminate or play favorites. It’s insidious, unsettling and oftentimes, heartbreaking. Everyone knows someone who either is fighting or has fought for their lives against this unfair enemy. It’s an emotional and unwelcome element of the “human condition.”
But, many times, thanks to unparalleled dedication by caregivers, combined with the indomitable character of their patients, cancer stories can have happy endings. Those are important accounts that need to be shared.
In that spirit, Spire Motorsports and the Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits, in collaboration with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, have partnered to honor cancer survivor Anna Walker with a paint scheme designed from a personal perspective.
The unique look will be on full display to a national television audience aboard Ty Dillon’s No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the October 8 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Walker, 28, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2021. Thanks to the care and support she received through the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Care at St. Francis Cancer Center in Greenville, S.C., she is now in remission.
Walker’s artwork was chosen as the winning finalist after a host of AYA patients received the call to submit design concepts to adorn Dillon’s race car. Her submission was inspired by actual imaging, revealed following her initial Computed Tomography (CT) scan, that showed the exact shapes of the cancer cells in her body. The lime green color represents the diagnosis and the fading colors, which ultimately lead to an unblemished shade of blue, illustrate the progression of her remission throughout the course of her individualized treatment regimen.
“My entire cancer journey was unexpected and rough, but with the love and support of my friends and family I was able to persevere and can look back at the incredible strength it took to make it through,” explained Walker. “Getting to see that reflected in my design helps bring to life and further establish how far I’ve come.”
Bon Secours St. Francis AYA Cancer Care is a comprehensive. community-based program focused on coordinating care and improving clinical trial access for AYA patients 15-39 years of age, in the Upstate South Carolina area. The program was the first if its kind in South Carolina and is part of a growing trend to have specialized programs and dedicated spaces for adolescents and young adults in the United States.
AYA Cancer Care started in 2012 and has a dedicated medical director, program coordinator, life specialist, research team and integrated financial and psychosocial support. Additionally, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System has dedicated spaces specifically designed by AYAs for AYAs in both hospital and clinical settings.
“We envisioned the AYA Cancer Care program more than 10 years ago to bring best-practices clinical care and innovative clinical trials to young adults in the community,” said Dr. Hal Crosswell, Director of the Bon Secours St. Francis AYA Program. “We have been so blessed to have partners who have driven this dream to reality—amazing partners at the local, regional, and national level like Ty (Dillon) and his awesome team recognizing our own patients’ struggles to not only survive but thrive through cancer. This continues to motivate those of us supporting our patients, clinical and administrative crew members alike, to continue to strive for excellence in compassionate care for all adolescents and young adults with cancer and blood disorders. Thank you for honoring our patients!”
Dillon will visit AYA Cancer Care on Wednesday, October 4, to unveil the paint scheme and visit patients and care providers prior to on-track activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s always gratifying to elevate a partnership that is impactful on so many levels,” said Todd Mackin, president of Spire Holdings. “Bon Secours St. Francis Health System has been a key corporate partner of the Swamp Rabbits for several years and we’re thrilled to integrate that relationship into a program with Spire Motorsports to honor Anna Walker and provide hope to young people fighting cancer. Bon Secours St. Francis AYA Cancer Care is doing incredible work. We’re proud to celebrate Anna and the impact of AYA’s commitment to its patients.”
The Bank of America ROVAL 400 from Charlotte Motor Speedway will be televised live on NBC Sunday, October 8 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 32nd of 36 races on the 2023 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
Spire Motorsports PR