DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 10, 2018 After recovering from a brain tumor diagnosis in 2016, Richard Childress Racing driver Matt Tifft visited cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy at AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center on July 6.
This was a really great day for our cancer patients and staff alike. We are so grateful for Matts visit and that he was so willing to share his personal battle with a brain tumor with us, said Michelle Rosato, Cancer Institute director at AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center. A cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment can, quite understandably, be a very difficult time for many of our patients, but his visit and the time he shared with us really brightened everyone’s day.
In June 2016, Tifft was sidelined after being diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumor that was discovered during treatment for a disc condition in his back.
After getting in a wreck during one of my races in 2016, my back was hurting more than normal, said Tifft, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Prior to this wreck, I had been having terrible headaches and light sensitivity issues, so the doctors decided to do an MRI and spotted the first signs that I may have a brain tumor. That led to a biopsy, which confirmed it was a tumor. Within two to three weeks, I was having surgery.
He missed a few months of his season to have surgery and recover, but made an extraordinary return to racing 11 weeks later in September 2016.
After my successful surgery, the recovery process was tough. The simplest tasks became extremely tough because of the daggering pains I had in my head, explained Tifft. These pains came from a lot of different situations, from certain smells to social situations or even just talking on the phone. I was told by the doctors I would never race again.
That didn’t sit well with me and I was determined to get back in the car. I did lots of brain games online that focused on reaction training as a form of rehab. Eventually, I did a neuro-cognitive exam that would prove if I was fit to fly an airplane. The doctors used that as an approval process since they felt it was parallel to giving me the approval to get back in a racecar, Tifft said. In a sense, I was lucky with my diagnosis and recovery process, so if I’m able to share my story with patients like the ones fighting hard at AdventHealth and provide them just a little bit of inspiration, that’s huge and something that is really important to me. It was an honor to visit the AdventHealth patients and staff, and I hope I provided a bit of comfort to their day.
The comparison between racing and medicine became evident during Tifft’s visit.
Similar to a race car driver, a radiation oncologist sits in the driver’s seat and is ultimately responsible for navigating and making the tough calls. After a successful race, the driver might receive a lot of the recognition, however, behind every driver is a shop full of team members who worked hard to build a safe and competitive race car, said Dr. Margarita Racsa, radiation oncologist at AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center. It’s the same in treating cancer; we have a whole team working together to help each patient fight this disease.
Tifft is the driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
About AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center
AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses in nine states, serving more than 5 million patients annually. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center includes the 327-bed facility in Daytona Beach, as well as AdventHealth Oceanside with 80 beds in Ormond Beach. AdventHealth Memorial Medical Center and AdventHealth Oceanside are two of the seven AdventHealth’s in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties that composes the AdventHealth Central Florida Division - North Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the AdventHealth Central Florida Division - North Region has 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees.
About Richard Childress Racing:
Richard Childress Racing (rcrracing.com) is a renowned, performance-driven racing, marketing and manufacturing organization. Incorporated in 1969, RCR has earned more than 200 victories and 17 championships, including six in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1998, 2007, 2018). Its 2018 Cup Series lineup includes two-time NASCAR champion, 2017 Coca-Cola 600 winner and 2018 Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon (No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol/AAA Chevrolet) along with2008 Daytona 500 champion and 2013 Brickyard 400 winner Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar/Grainger/Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas/Liberty National Chevrolet). Its Xfinity Series program includes a multi-driver lineup with the No. 3 Chevrolet including Austin and Ty Dillon, Jeb Burton, Shane Lee and Brendan Gaughan, first-year RCR driver Matt Tifft (No. 2 Nexteer/Tunity/Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet) and second-year Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric (No. 21 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet).