#CheckIt4Andretti campaign gets ride for Indy 500

Update on Andretti's health battle

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WTHR) - The month of May began with WTHR Sports Director Dave Calabro revealing that retired racer John Andretti was battling colon cancer. John has turned his battle into a campaign to help others avoid the same health crisis. The hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti is getting up to speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and spreading at over 220 miles an hour.

Oval decals that read “#CheckIt4Andretti: Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today” will be carried on all 33 cars in the Indianapolis 500. The Andretti Autosport team displayed the decal on the rear wings of their IndyCars during practice Thursday. Several cars in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 28th will also carry the decals.

The 54-year-old Andretti strongly encourages race fans 50 years of age and older to schedule a colonoscopy. He waited too long.

“It's life changing for me, but more so for my family and that's the part I hate,” said Andretti. “I hate the stress that I put on them for this because this was definitely avoidable."

Andretti is undergoing chemotherapy. The cancer has spread from his colon to his liver and spleen. He has another surgery next month.

Andretti made his battle public to help others avoid his mistake.

"We've not only taken people who were not getting colonoscopies to get them, but they're becoming advocates of getting them done,” said Andretti Thursday morning during a news conference at the Speedway. “That's been the bigger part of it. It's grown as they say business-wise organically."

Andretti made his first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday since being diagnosed with colon cancer. Andretti raced in the Indy 500 12 times and the Brickyard 400 11 times.

“This gives me energy,” said Andretti. “I can't believe they were running when I wasn't here, but evidently they can."

50-year-old Speedway president Doug Boles called his doctor right in the middle of the news conference.

"I made a commitment to John that I would call and schedule my colonoscopy, so I was wondering if you could help me get that done,” Boles asked into a microphone.

“Doug, I think that's a great idea," the doctor answered over the speakers in the media center.

John convinced his cousin and IndyCar team owner Michael to get a colonoscopy. Thursday, the crews for all six of the Andretti Autosport cars wore navy blue t-shirts that read “In It to Win It” on the front and “#CheckIt4Andretti” on the back, providing a strong reminder. The shirts can be ordered here to support Riley Hospital for Children, which John has supported for years through his Race for Riley go-kart race.

Send John a message of support.