In observance of National Pet Cancer Awareness month, Clint Bowyer will carry the pictures of two special dogs on the side of his No. 14 Ford Mustang Sunday when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series holds its penultimate race of the 2019 season at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
“If carrying pictures of two of the 1,500 dogs One Cure treats on the side of our car doesn’t make us a fan favorite in Phoenix this weekend, then I don’t know what will,” said Bowyer, who owns two dogs of his own. “I hope this gives some attention to National Pet Cancer Awareness, as well as the good work One Cure is doing for pets and humans. I think just about everybody has a pet and everybody has been touched by cancer in their lives.”
Bowyer’s green-and-white car will carry the picture of Merlin on the driver’s-side door. The 8-year-old Golden Retriever was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs and is similar to lymphoma in humans. While there’s currently no cure for lymphoma, Merlin feels great, even while going through treatment and enjoying two long walks each day with his family.
On the passenger-side door of Bowyer’s racecar will be a picture of Neva, a 9-year-old mixed breed, diagnosed with bone cancer in her left-front leg. This cancer is very similar to bone cancer in humans, which is most often diagnosed in children. After amputation surgery to remove the tumor, Neva entered a clinical trial designed to personalize her chemotherapy treatment. Three years later, Neva is doing great.
Both dogs, as well as hundreds of others, are part of a One Cure project led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.
The center, located in Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 130 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope for the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.
One Cure has been one of Bowyer’s partners at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) since he climbed into the No. 14 racecar in 2018. The program’s goal is to direct fans to www.OneCure.com, where they can learn about the research and to offer financial support. Bowyer said it could mean life or death for humans and pets.
“The bottom line I learned through One Cure is this: There isn’t much difference between dogs and humans when it comes to cancer,” Bowyer said. “What they get, we get. We’re both in the same environment, drink the same water and react the same way. So, One Cure is researching cancer in dogs and other pets not only to treat them, but to apply that research in the hopes it will lead to curing cancer in humans, as well.”
Bowyer hopes he can give One Cure even more attention with a good run Sunday in the desert. He enters the race 11th in points after finishing 11th Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in a race that saw him finish second in Stage 1 after leading 36 laps. Bowyer arrives just 22 points behind William Byron in the battle for 10th place in the standings and just 40 points behind Brad Keselowski, who holds ninth place. This weekend in Phoenix, then next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, are the only races remaining on the 2019 schedule.
“These final two races are important to us,” Bowyer said. “We can get to 10th and ninth. That would be an achievement for us and we are going to try like heck this weekend and next weekend to make it happen.”
He’ll have two canine friends on the side of his car in Phoenix this weekend to make sure he does, as well as to call attention to a worthy cause and organization.