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Sadler Shows His True Colors In Charlotte

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 14 2011

Elliott Sadler made a colorful request of his sponsor. (File photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Concord, N.C. – Pink was the color of the day Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway as NASCAR, track officials and competitors showed their support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, but for at least three members of the NASCAR community the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage was more than a Nationwide Series race.

Elliott and Hermie Sadler’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about six years ago. Marcy Scott, Atlanta Motor Speedway’s director of marketing and promotion, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer slightly more than two years ago at age 37.

“It makes me so proud when we show up here at Charlotte every year now for the fall to see different sponsors giving up their paint scheme to turn (their cars) pink,” said Elliott Sadler, who entered Friday’s race second in the Nationwide standings. “This is by far my mom’s favorite race each and every year because we’re able to drive a pink race car.”

Sadler approached his sponsor, OneMain Financial, in the spring and asked if he could have pink on his race car for the Charlotte October race. He told company officials he knew it would take away from their regular paint scheme, but “it would mean a lot to me and my family.” Company officials granted his request.

Sadler noted it was the Charlotte race where he and his mother first met representatives

Elliott Sadler's car was decked out in pink in Charlotte this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“They were able to answer so many more questions about what she was getting ready to go through – the surgeries, the chemo, the transition of her body – things we couldn’t answer as a family,” Sadler said. “My brother and I looked at each other and said, ‘We have got to get with this organization. We need to bring awareness to breast cancer.’”

Most everyone knows or is related to someone who has suffered breast cancer. In fact, statistics show that about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during her life. That statistic became a reality for Scott on June 29, 2009. A 6-year AMS employee and 14-year veteran of the sport, Scott discovered the breast cancer herself after noticing “electric sensations” in her left breast. A self-breast exam revealed a large mass under her left arm. She reported to her doctor who sent her for a mammogram, an ultrasound and then a biopsy. The cancer’s source of origin was so deep in her chest wall doctors couldn’t locate it.

Upon receiving the port through which she would receive the chemo, Scott was hospitalized with blood clots. On July 16, 2009, she began eight rounds of chemo every two weeks. Then in November 2009 she had a double mastectomy. A month later she underwent a treatment for complications from her November surgery.

In January 2010, Scott began 6 ½ weeks of daily radiation treatments. Then in March 2010, the compassionate woman had a full hysterectomy. When first diagnosed doctors discovered Scott possessed the genetic marker that made her a high risk for ovarian cancer. For the energetic woman who always envisioned getting married and having a family it was a devastating scenario. Yet, with her family’s and friends’ help she maintained her strength.

Scott’s reconstructive surgery began in September 2010 and continued in February 2011. More surgery occurred in April and during the summer.

“There are days that I feel like a little rag doll that they’ve put in a room and practiced sewing on,” Scott said.

Scott has worked at AMS throughout her treatments and surgeries. In fact, two of her “big” surgeries were scheduled for the day after races. AMS President and General Manager Ed Clark had a sofa placed in Scott’s office so she could nap during her lunch hour while undergoing chemo. The glass on her door was covered for privacy. For Scott, her work has been a “great outlet” and a “great distraction.” It’s been an “important factor in keeping me going.”

Prior to her diagnosis, Scott never did self-breast exams. Now she wishes she had done them. Scott also noted she couldn’t count how many women in the NASCAR community had told her they now do their monthly self-exams because of her.

“I want to thank anyone who donates to breast cancer organizations or other cancer-related organizations,” Scott said. “The two greatest things you can do are give to those organizations and donate blood. The No. 1 use of blood is for cancer patients. So if you can’t donate monetarily, give blood.”

NASCAR’s efforts promoting Breast Cancer Awareness this weekend involve the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series events at Charlotte and the Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas. Race cars and trucks are carrying a NASCAR Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon logo on A-posts, while officials are wearing pink lanyards and gloves in the garage. The officials’ fire suits are carrying special patches. Mechanix Wear is providing pink gloves that will be signed by drivers and auctioned on the NASCAR Unites Website.

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 14 2011
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