A longtime fixture in the racing industry is in the middle of a lengthy health battle, and the short track community is reaching out to show its support for “Shamu” during his road to recovery.
Derek Spencer, known simply as “Shamu,” has been a part of NASCAR teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Diamond Ridge Motorsports, as well as racing manufacturers such as PFC Brakes and Five Star Race Car Bodies. Spencer had recently joined Day Racing Products in the next chapter of his racing story.
According to the GoFundMe page set up to raise funds and awareness for Spencer, he suffered a major health issue in August, and now faces a long road to recovery.
“In mid-August, Derek developed a blood infection from a diabetes related wound on his leg and this started a chain reaction that caused his liver and kidneys to fail, causing fluid to build up on his heart and lungs leading to congestive heart failure,” reads the GoFundMe post. “The pressure from the fluid and his being overweight made it hard for him to breathe and Derek ended-up in a coma on a ventilator for two weeks.”
Spencer is currently in a critical care facility as he continues his recovery and treatment, semi-alert and communicating with caregivers. Diane Foley, Spencer’s sister, provided an update yesterday on the GoFundMe page regarding his progress.
“Our mother (Carol Johnson) and our brother (Kirk Spencer) and I have been visiting Derek as well as his close friends. As of last week, we have seen him improve little by little. He has good days and bad days and it's going to be a very long road. We will keep you all posted on his progress.”
Along with offering your words of encouragement through the GoFundMe page or the Facebook page dedicated to his recovery efforts, supporters can also offer their financial support to Spencer and his family in a number of ways.
Supporters can donate directly to the Derek Spencer Recovery Fund through the GoFundMe page, which will go directly to Spencer’s future short and long-term medical and life-rebuilding expenses. To date, more than $5,800 has been raised for the Derek Spencer Recovery Fund through the GoFundMe platform.
Racecar Engineering is also accepting donations on behalf of the Derek Spencer Recovery Fund in exchange for #ShamuStrong decals. These decals can be readily displayed on cars, trailers, tool boxes and more, and fit perfectly on the B-Pillar of a race car at 4.5 inches by 6 inches in size. The decals are shipped free of charge to anywhere in the United States or Canada, and all proceeds from the decals go directly to the Derek Spencer Recovery Fund.
Those unable to donate can still offer their support for Spencer. All are encouraged to raise awareness for the Derek Spencer Recovery Fund via social media, using the hashtag #ShamuStrong. They can also follow the GoFundMe and Facebook pages for updates on Spencer’s recovery.
Speed51 offers its heartfelt thoughts and prayers for Spencer at this time and encourages the racing community to stand #ShamuStrong behind one of its own.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Derek Spencer Recovery Fund GoFundMe