Free Cancer (Screening) at Atlanta Motor Speedway

by Edie Harper
Coordinator of Screening Events AMS
Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation/GA Chapter

The Georgia Chapter of the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation sponsored its third screening event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday and Saturday October 26-27, 2007. Over 70 people made the trek south to Atlanta Motor Speedway to volunteer their time and efforts to screen the fans of the NASCAR Truck Race Series. 208 people took advantage of the opportunity to be screened for oral and head and neck cancers at this event. 24 Otolaryngologists and Oral Maxillo Facial Surgeons, over 20 Speech Language Pathologists, 12 medical students from Emory, 10 graduate students from UGA and GSU, and our favorite volunteers, our survivors, partcipated in the screenings.

This year’s event was particularly poignant as it was conducted in memory of NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton Sr who lost his battle with oral cancer last January. Lori Hamilton, wife of Bobby Hamilton Sr and the entire BHR Racing Team supported the event and encouraged people to be screened. Atlanta’s favorite traffic reporter, Captain Herb Emory of WBS radio, came to the tent to offer his support of the screenings and to be screened himself. Members of the Speed Channel, Fox Sports, ESPN Sports, and racing teams were screened along with the fans. The Speed Channel did a live interview from the screening tent on Friday and encouraged all the fans to come out and be screened. Captain Herb advertised the screening on his Saturday radio show

This year, the event offered an information table for the young race fans. Models of the mouth before and after the use of smokeless tobacco, interactive activities that encouraged the kids not to start smoking, and an opportunity to ask questions about smoking and smokeless tobacco with information from a pediatric physicians were quite a draw to the children.

After all the hard work put forth by the YBF GA chapter board and by the countless volunteers who have assisted with the 3 race screening events, we are proud to say that over 600 people have been screened for oral and head and neck cancers in 18 months. In addition, we provided information on the importance of screening, early detection, and the dangers of continued tobacco and smokeless tobacco use to hundreds more people who did not take advantage of the free screenings.

The Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundations Georgia Chapter was chosen to be the highlight of this year’s Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHNCAW). April 21-25, 2008. A camera crew from the national YBF Foundation followed our every move, filmed screenings at AMS, and interviewed volunteers, the fans, survivors, and the celebrity guests and will use this footage to advertise OHNCAW nationally. Watch your local news stations during that week for footage of the race and to see your friends and health care providers in their work to educate people on the importance of early detection,

If you would like to volunteer for an upcoming race, please email Edie Harper, race coordinator, or call 404-686-7798. If you would like to get more involved with our group, contact Meryl Kaufman, chair of GA YBF at 404-686-4414 for more information.