Cancer sucks. Derek DeBoer of TRG-Aston Martin Racing talks about Mason’s Hope and how we can all lend a hand. Derek is promoting Mason’s Hope this Saturday during Road America. Mason Gordon is a third grader with inoperable brain cancer. We need to bring attention to childhood cancer and the devastating affects it can have on a family. Please help us support Mason’s Hope however you can. More about Mason Gordon and his mom at the end of this interview.
Earle Dutton: How did you get started in racing?
Derek DeBoer: It has been a pretty long path. Racing for me started as a childhood dream. It was the sport that I followed. Race car drivers were my superheroes when I was a kid. It has always been on my wish list. I didn’t have the opportunity to dabble in it myself until I got married. My wife encouraged me to chase that dream. That was nineteen years ago. (Laughter) I figured she was trying to get rid of me (laughter). I did as much as I could at the hobby level and paid my dues up the ladder. I guess it was three years ago that I started my relationship with TRG. They take good care of me and put me in front of great opportunities. It seems to be going well, so we are running with it.
ED: How did you feel the first time you saw your name on the side of a race car?
DD: It was not even the first time, to be honest. It is a really good feeling every time I walk up to car and see my name. This is all part of dreams coming true. That first time certainly had a giant impact. Every time it happens, I get a warm fuzzy feeling.
ED: Could you tell me a bit about your car?
DD: The car I am driving at Road America is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. That is the car that I am campaigning the full season this year for Pirelli World Challenge. It is my third year driving that car with TRG but I have also been able to drive some of the other cars they field. Recently, I had a race in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo car. That was a treat. That will spoil you.
ED: What first attracted you to working to help out Mason and his family?
DD: I have worked with Gail Benzler on the Racing Nerd group she hosts. We have had a good following and great results so far. Gail reached out to me since she knew my previous affiliation with Racing for Cancer. We talked about ideas on how we could do the most to benefit Mason and it has just snowballed from there.
ED: How does it feel to be able to directly help this family move forward?
DD: You want to do so much more than you actually can. You hope that what you are doing does actually help. Not being there and in person you can’t really imagine what there day to day routine is like. There are certainly the financial needs. Anything you can do to bring in a dollar more than what they started the day with has certainly got to help, in my opinion. I think the biggest thing that we are able to do on this great racing platform is some of the emotional uplifting stuff.
The childhood cancer thing is just so close to my heart. I am the father of three. To think about a child having to spend their day in a chemo lab instead of at their desk in third grade just breaks your heart. You just want to do everything you can to bring a smile to their face. You just want to give them that little extra effort in their fight and something to be excited about you know.
ED: How do you think that everyday people could help if they can?
DD: I think Mason has a great following and everything that they do helps. I think that making a donation of any kind really helps as well. The financial needs of a single working mom with a sick child are just devastating. Everything helps. It also helps the overall costs of raising awareness of cancer. Racing for Cancer’s global goal is to really help promote early detection. I think even giving him uplifting thoughts including the facebook posts are so important. It isn’t all about money. Comments, thoughts and prayers all have their place.
More About Mason:
Mason Gordon was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer on June 20, 2012. The tumor is embedded in his optical nerve, surrounding his basilar artery and resting on top of his pituitary gland. Mason has good days and difficult moments and is receiving the very best of care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since his diagnosis, he has had numerous chemotherapy treatments and has endured eight surgeries just in the past year. Just this week, it was determined that his tumor is growing and experimental chemotherapy has been undertaken. Still, Mason and his family remain positive.
Lindsey Gordon, Mason’s mother is a single working woman struggling to make ends meet. Although Mason’s treatment is covered by insurance, Lindsey must take unpaid time off from work to care for him. Things like rent, utilities, clothing, food and other essential needs are hard to come by.
All proceeds will benefit Mason’s Hope in support of his care and essential needs.