The Battle Off The Track: How Cancer Has Affected Our Racing Families

(Press Release from OTB Promotions)

OTB Promotions LogoThe story of one man, who put family before anything, can live on forever; long after cancer has taken his life.

Suffering from psoriatic arthritis since he was 18-years-old, Paul Sicard never let it slow him down. Sicard ran a 6-cylinder Chevelle in the Street Stock division, on the dirt at the former Can-Am Speedway, in Coventry, VT. An avid hunter, and provider to his family, Sicard made sure there was food on the table, the bills were paid, and work was done, even though pain shot through his joints. Sicard’s arthritis had become so bad, his fingers had become deformed, ankles nearly fused, toes and feet swollen, and could not even throw a baseball, the game he so loved, without sending shots of pain throughout his shoulder and back. Even with this adversity, Paul would find ways to work around his challenges; wielding a hammer in a manner to fit his hands, and using his wrists to help carry shingles up ladders, since his fingers could not grip, to fix the roof of his house. There wasn’t anything that would keep Sicard from doing every day activities.

In late January, 2010, Sicard visited his doctor at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, only to learn he had been diagnosed with basal-cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Normally, basal-cell carcinoma is a very treatable form of skin cancer, but if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. In Sicard’s case, the cancer had already begun to spread, reaching lymph nodes, and attacking other areas of his body.

Treatment began with surgery, and chemotherapy, which Sicard detested, because it left him without energy to take care of his wife (Bonnie), spend time with his children (Anita, Clinton, Shawn, Jodie, and Rick), and be the “Papa” he wanted to be to his many grandsons. Sicard’s withered immune system did not take well to the treatment, and his condition deteriorated. A late August trip to the hospital led to Paul being admitted to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Surrounded by his entire family, and barely strong enough to lift his arm, Sicard made sure the bills were paid, and was writing checks in his hospital bed.

The doctors conversed with Sicard and his family, but could not grant his wish of a return home. With his immediate family by his side, Sicard passed away August 29, 2011.

His legacy, and characteristics, live on with his family today. His children have become a school teacher, welder, National Guardsman, Occupational Therapist, and Director of Communications/Announcer in the racing industry. His love for his grandsons is still remembered, as they reminisce about fishing, playing soccer, and watching races together. Cancer may have taken this man’s body, but his soul lives on just as strong, today.

Paul Sicard’s story is one of many stories Outside the Box Promotions will highlight, in preparation for the Karting to Conquer Cancer benefit go-kart event, being held at On Track Karting, in Wallingford, CT, January 16, 2016. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Contact Shawn Sicard, Director of Communications for Outside the Box Promotions, via email, [email protected].

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