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New England Native and Teen Cancer Survivor Featured on #15 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race car for Season-Opener

Posted on March 27 , 2014 by Rob Fuller

15-40 Connection Logo High Resolution

New England Native and Teen Cancer Survivor Featured on #15 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race car for Season-Opener

15-40 Connection Teams Up With Rob Fuller Motorsports To Honor Dave McGrath At Thompson Speedway

#2 photo Rob Fuller (L) Dave McGrath (R) photo credit is Glenn Perry

 

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (March 27, 2014) — While he may not get to drive the race car, cancer survivor Dave McGrath’s role on the #15 Rob Fuller Motorsports team at the Thompson Icebreaker race on April 6 will be no less important.

 Each year 77,000 teens and young adults between the ages of 15 – 40 are diagnosed with cancer.*  Yet, since 1975,

 improvements in cancer survival rates have not kept pace with other age groups.  Delayed diagnosis is an import culprit of this problem.

 McGrath, who is now 39, was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 18, but prior to that he experienced a delayed diagnosis which was a learning experience that likely saved his life. Rob Fuller Motorsports and 15-40 Connection have teamed up to feature young cancer survivors during the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season in an effort to raise awareness of cancer symptoms and the obstacles teens and young adults face to diagnose cancer at earlier stages.  McGrath will attend the Thompson Icebreaker race as a honorary crew member for RFM and his picture will be featured on the race car.

 “I learned my lesson; I dealt with symptoms of Crohn’s Disease for months before I finally went to the doctor because the pain was unbearable,” said McGrath.  “At age 14, Crohn’s Disease was found in my intestines and one and a half feet of them were removed.  After that, things were going fine for me, up until my 18th birthday when I started having double vision and headaches.  Unlike with my Crohn’s Disease symptoms, I decided to see a doctor right away.”

 That’s when McGrath learned that he had a brain tumor that lead to a diagnosis of cancer.  He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and following treatment was cancer-free.

 Massachusetts-based non-profit 15-40 Connection is a second-year partner with Rob Fuller Motorsports and is committed to raising awareness of the fact that cancer survival rates in teens and young adults ages 15 to 40 have barely improved since 1975 in large part because of delays in diagnosis.  It is empowering individuals with knowledge that wills save and improve lives through early cancer detection.

 “Dave has been a volunteer speaker for 15-40 Connection since 2011 and annually speaks to hundreds of high school and college students sharing the lessons he learned through his diagnosis,” said Tricia Laursen, Executive Director at 15-40 Connection.  “The partnership with Rob Fuller has allowed our volunteers to reach new audiences that will hopefully save lives.”

 A special decal featuring McGrath’s image will be on the rear decklid and side panels of the #15 Chevrolet piloted by team driver/owner Rob Fuller.  The race team featured leukemia survivor Josh Bell on the car at the non-points event in Daytona in February and plans to honor four more survivors this race season.

 “The support received when we honored Josh Bell on the car in Daytona showed us that this is important,” said Rob Fuller.  “I lost an uncle to cancer when he was just 39 years old and I want to make sure we do our part to support 15-40 Connection and all that they do.”

 In addition to his volunteer work with 15-40 connection, McGrath works at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Worcester where cancer patients have free lodging and support while undergoing treatment.  He created Skating for Hope, a 24-hour ice skating event that’s entering its fourth year and raised thousands to help cancer patients who are in the middle of treatment.

 Race fans are urged to read and share Dave’s story which will be featured on 15-40 Connection’s Facebook and Twitter pages during the Thompson Speedway race weekend.  Please visit:www.Facebook.com/1540connection and www.Twitter.com/1540connection

*Source: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/aya

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