CALABRO: Andretti's cancer test turns into testimony

A nurse preps John Andretti's chemo pump as the former race car driver fights colon cancer. (WTHR / Steve Rhodes)

In 30 years of being a sports reporter, I've met my share of self-centered athletes. They are the ones that just want a relationship to help build their public image. They are consumed with their life and what's only important to them.

And then there are athletes like John Andretti.

Think about the pressure of having that name! John has used his platform over the past 21 years to give back. He raised millions of dollars for Riley Hospital for Children and St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. He is always making secret visits to see kids and their parents.

This spring, I was talking with him on the phone. We talked kids, wives, and racing. At the end of the 20 minute chat, I casually asked how HE was doing. He mentioned having a little issue with colon cancer. Typical Andretti. No big deal, see you at the track.

John Andretti battles colon cancer

Fast forward to last week, when I watched him endure chemotherapy. John has colon cancer - stage 4. It has spread to his liver. He never complained. He is a faithful man. He believes God gives us tests so we can have a testimony. Andretti knows this is his toughest race yet. There is no 2nd place finisher. John agreed to share his story with me because he wants to save some lives.

Colon cancer is all about screenings. Every adult must get one starting at 50 even if you are symptom free. Andretti waited until he was 54 to get a colonoscopy. I waited until I was 54. I was lucky and John was not.

Life isn't fair sometimes.

Andretti says he isn't angry at God. He has this amazing platform and intends to use it. I am honored to help spread the message. John said it best, "If you won't get a colonoscopy for yourself, do it for your loved ones. It could save your life."

Prayers up for my friend, John and all of you dealing with cancer.

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