One year ago today, racer John Andretti died after a battle with colorectal cancer. Now, the legendary Andretti family has set up a charity in his honor which is designed to carry on John Andretti’s legacy even in his death.
In April of 2017, Andretti announced that he had stage four colon cancer that had originally been misdiagnosed as Stage III-A cancer. He underwent chemotherapy but unfortunately, the cancer returned and eventually killed him. But during the last years of his life, Andretti started the Twitter hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti, using his platform as both a driver and a member of the Andretti family to make a change for the better.
Basically, that hashtag was designed to promote regular colonoscopies once men reach a certain age. It may not be a pleasant experience, but it can be a lifesaving one if it’s caught soon enough. It was a great initiative, one that did inspire a lot of folks to go out and get checked.
Today, his family announced the formation of The CheckIt4Andretti Charitable Foundation which is designed to help people undergo colonoscopies by providing funding to high risk, low-income patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or too young for their insurance to cover a screening.
“From the moment he was diagnosed, John vowed to not only fight this disease, but to do everything he could to help prevent others from a diagnosis like his,” John’s wife, Nancy Andretti, stated. “I was really proud of all the work John did and all the lives he saved, and am very proud now to be able to officially launch this new foundation with the purpose of saving so many more.”
While some people do admittedly avoid a colonoscopy because it’s unpleasant, many others do so because of insurance issues. I think just about anyone in America has done the mental gymnastics of trying to determine if an illness or check-up is worth what it might cost if you head to the doctor. This foundation is designed to remove one of the many hoops you have to jump through to get care.
As a reminder, doctors recommend getting a colonoscopy at age 50 and, if you’re clear, having one done every 5-10 years after that. If you have first-degree relatives with colon cancer or are otherwise at risk, you should be going at a younger age and more frequently.