By: Kyle Brandt – Contributing Writer
As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and like many other professional sports, NASCAR is doing it’s part to promote this special cause, in a way only they could.
On Friday night, Charlotte Motor Speedway will honor those who have survived or have been affected by the disease during their Nationwide Series event, dubbed the “Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage”.
During the pre-race ceremonies, 300 breast cancer survivors will be honored for their courage and bravery, and along with a pink startn/finish line and infield logo, fans in attendance are urged to wear pink in what is being called a “pink out”.
Despite all the special events planned to promote breast cancer awareness on Friday night, current Nationwide Series rookie, Blake Koch, already has enough motivation to do his part.
In the middle of a heated battle for rookie-of-the-year with Timmy Hill, Koch’s mother, Angie, is a breast cancer survivor.
After losing her father to cancer when she was just nine years-old, Angie kept the news of her diagnosis from Blake- not wanting her son to expeerience the burden of her sickness like she had with her father.
Angie battled the disease alone and scared, and didn’t share the news with Blake until the chemo treatments forced her to share the news.
“I really can’t even describe the feeling I had, its like, basically life was over,” said Blake Koch, describing the day he was told about his mother’s illness. “I was scared. There was no way of changing it, it is what it is and I was scared.”
With the support of her family and son, who was with her every step of the way through her battle with the disease, Angie eventually was cancer free, but five years later, things once again took a turn for the worse.
During her annul check-up, Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time, and with guidance from Blake, she made the tough decision to have a double mastectomy, and just weeks after the surgery, she was back at Darlington Raceway to watch her son race on Mother’s Day weekend.
“You know, I decided that I was going to have a double mastectomy,” said Angie. “It [surgery] gave me the piece of mind knowing that I would never have to go through it again.”
With Blake being with his mother every step of the way through her battle with breast cancer, Angie is now there for Blake who is in the middle of a tight battle for rookie-of-the-year with Timmy Hill and with only a hand-full of races remaining in the season, Blake is only two points behind hill for the top rookie honors.
“Blake was a great supporter”, replied Angie, after being asked about her son. “He keeps me smiling, he’s my hope.”
With the support of his mother, Koch looks to become one step closer of achieving ROTY honors by taking the points lead on Friday night- piloting a hot pink No. 81 Dodge honoring breast cancers survivors like his mother.
Be sure to catch Blake Koch and the rest of the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series in action for the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Live television coverage begins at 7:30pm/ET on ESPN2 and can also be listened to on PRN an SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 90.
Kyle Brandt is a contributing writer for RubbingsRacing.com and can be followed on Twitter for the latest NASCAR news and information: @Kyle_Brandt.