WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (October 14, 2014) – This season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT), Rob Fuller Motorsports (RFM) and 15-40 Connection have teamed up to share the journey of diagnosis of four young adult cancer survivors. Now, the duo is proud to announce the addition of Rob Russo’s story to the non-profit’s educational program.
Russo’s journey to cancer diagnosis was added to the platform after a call-to-action from RFM and 15-40 Connection surrounding the New Hampshire Motor Speedway race asking fans to help expand the “Learn From Me” series.
Russo, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 23, submitted his story to be shared with young people to open the conversation of early cancer detection. He will be featured on the No. 15 Chevrolet piloted by Todd Szegedy at Thompson Speedway on Oct. 19 and will attend the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race as an honorary crew member.
At the age of 23, Russo was finishing up his Master’s Degree and consulting in a bike shop. He went on a normal mountain bike ride with some friends and the next day he had severe back pain and was barely able to get out of bed.
“I wrote it off as sleeping wrong or being out of shape,” said Russo. “At this same time, though, I began to notice a growth in my right testicle. It began to grow in size and became painful to touch and move during daily activity. I knew something was wrong, but figured I’d give it a couple weeks to go away and then a couple more, which then turned into six months.”
Russo was embarrassed to tell anyone but eventually confided in his best friend who encouraged him to see a doctor. After visiting his general practitioner, he was immediately sent to see a specialist.
“An ultrasound revealed that there were definite abnormalities,” Russo continued. “At this point I could no longer keep it a secret and I had to tell my parents. As you might imagine, within three days I was sitting with the surgeon. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer. My delay had given it time to spread up the spermatic cord out of the testis.”
Russo underwent nine weeks of intensive chemotherapy. He now encourages friends to do self-exams and “get to know what’s going on down there – normally – so they don’t run the risk of dismissing away health changes that turn out to actually be symptoms of a big problem.”
Following his experience, Russo now advises, “get to know your normal and don’t wait to get checked out if you KNOW something’s off.”
Russo, in part, entered his story to be an honorary crew member at the Thompson Speedway season finale to return to the track where he spent many years with this father, Bob Russo. Rob worked with his father on the No. 14 TIS Modified doing everything from jacking the car to body work and car setup.
“It is a past time that my father and I share and is a good bonding experience for us.” Russo said.
Russo’s full story can be found at: http://bit.ly/1540Russo.
-Rob Fuller Motorsports Press Release. Photo Credit: Rob Fuller Motorsports.