Rob Fuller Driving For Early Cancer Detection With 15-40 Connection Partnership On Whelen Mod Tour

Before he hits the track for Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, driver and team owner Rob Fuller will be hosting a special group of guests.

Rob Fuller with his 15-40 Connection Whelen Modified Tour ride (Photo: Rob Fuller Motorsports)

Rob Fuller with his 15-40 Connection Whelen Modified Tour ride (Photo: Rob Fuller Motorsports)

It’s not an uncommon site on a race weekend to see individuals from a team’s marketing partners taking in the pre-race hoopla surrounding events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

But the group that will be visiting with Fuller on Saturday goes beyond just curious onlookers.

Before competing in the F.W. Webb 100 Saturday, Fuller will host a group of cancer survivors for a photo shoot in the garage area at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The survivors will be at the track representing and promoting Fuller’s sponsor, 15-40 Connection.

Fuller, a part-time racer on the Whelen Modified Tour, introduced 15-40 Connection as his primary sponsor prior to the start of the 2013 racing season.

15-40 Connection is a non-profit group focused on improving cancer survival rates in people ages 15-40 years old.

“Fifteen to 40 is an age range and in that age range, cancer survival rates haven’t improved since back in 1975,” said Tricia Laursen, executive director of 15-40 Connection.

Laursen said studies have shown that late diagnosis is one of the biggest issues with the stagnant survival rates of the age group.

“So why are teens and young adults diagnosed at later stages of cancer than the rest of the population?” Laursen said. “It comes down to a lot of issues, but the natural tendency when you’re in this age group is to feel invincible. You wake up every morning and you feel fine. If you ever have a health issue it tends to go away, so why wouldn’t it now right?

“It’s about not knowing what a cancer symptom can look or feel like. Most don’t. Nobody ever talks about what leads to a cancer diagnosis. What symptoms brought you to the doctor or what caused the doctor to question something. The most common symptom for cancer is a subtle but persistent change in your health. We always say two weeks is key. So if something about your normal health changes and it lasts for two weeks, that’s the time to call your doctor. It doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it’s time to take action.”

Worcester, Mass. businessman Jim Coghlin Sr. founded 15-40 Connection in 2008. Last year Fuller, of Shrewsbury, Mass., met Coghlin and conversations quickly gravitated toward racing and NASCAR.

“Before you know it he went to a racetrack and was interested in it and saw the demographic was perfect and wanted to see if we could help him out,” Fuller said.

Saturday 15-40 representatives and survivors who serve as speakers and promoters for the group, will take part in a photo shoot at the track with Fuller.

Laursen said the relationship between 15-40 Connection and Fuller’s team and promoting through NASCAR has been all positive.

“Our audience is everybody 15 to 40,” Laursen said. “We talked with Rob about what we were doing. I didn’t really know much about NASCAR or the Whelen Tour, and he told us about it and gave us an introduction and we thought it was a perfect alignment because the people that are going to the races and the people that are fans of Rob and what he’s doing, those are the people that we want to talk to, even though they don’t know we need to talk to them yet. So our challenge is reaching audiences that don’t know they need to think about cancer right now. Rob is a perfect vehicle you could say for doing that. The racing community is fantastic. What a great group. Just a lot of caring people.”

And for Fuller, the “sponsorship” has brought about a lot of different emotions that go further beyond the typical race team trying to help a company market a product.

“People are asking questions at the track with what it’s about, which is a good thing,” Fuller said. “They’re getting more hits on the internet, which is great thing.

“For me, it’s a feeling I’ve never felt before in racing. It’s really really good. I’ve been sponsored by [different companies] and the bottom line was you’re trying to promote a product. With this on the racecar, you’re doing more than trying to promote something, it’s almost like you’re a providing a service which is a really good feeling.”

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  1. Diane Orell Cunic says

    My cousin and hope he wins Diane or

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