“Cancer is in me, but it doesn’t own me.”
Beloved NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes had already beaten Head and Neck Cancer once. An intense, 10-week protocol of chemotherapy and radiation left him feeling weak, but grateful to be cancer free. It didn’t seem fair that it should come back so soon.
“One day, about 9 months after my doctors said I was cancer-free, I was feeling really short of breath and thought I was having a heart attack. I immediately had my wife drive me to the hospital.”
Steve’s oncologists quickly discovered that Steve wasn’t having a heart attack, but that his cancer had returned, this time in his lungs. His prognosis is far more daunting this time around, but you would never guess it talking to Steve.
“I’m not angry at the doctors or angry at God or at anyone. I’m just so grateful for this day and for what I have. I just walked down to the beach and threw the football with my son and hey, I’m a little short of breath but big deal.”
For a man fighting off death, Steve seems more alive than most of us. He refuses to let the painful side effects of his current treatments affect his passion and enthusiasm for sports, his family, or his faith. He’s quick to say that his upbeat attitude doesn’t always come easily, especially when dealing with extreme weight loss, nausea, or fear for his family’s well being. It’s a conscious choice, a daily decision to “live this thing out loud,” as he calls it.
Steve stays optimistic by reaching out to others. He and his wife currently help two family friends who are fighting Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer.
“Helping them is a way for me to help myself,” Steve says.
Returning to the NASCAR Broadcast Booth
“My bosses at FOX Sports in L.A. have been fantastic, completely supportive. They’ve told me that my job is waiting for me when I’m ready to come back. Am I gonna be able to come back? I’m not sure. But just to know that they are willing to have me back has been a huge bonus for me emotionally, and also a big boost to my family.”
As Steve works his tail off to get healthy, he definitely has the love and support of one giant NASCAR family behind him. We might be a crazy, dysfunctional bunch, but Byrnsy is one of us and we can’t wait to get him back.
Living through Cancer
“I just want people to know that you can live while fighting cancer and you should live! Don’t let this disease overwhelm you; that’s the biggest thing. Keep doing the things that you love to do.”
You beat cancer by “living life out loud” like Steve Byrnes. By clinging to your joys and passions and refusing to let go. By taking it one day at a time. By reaching out to help others and by accepting help when you need it.
“Once you get that cancer diagnosis, it kinda buckles your knees, figuratively and literally,” Steve says. “You can read all the books you want on it, but my absolute best resource was other people who had already been through it. That gave me real hope… That’s why I try to help others.”
Get better soon Steve. Your in our thoughts and our prayers. We’ll try to follow your lead and hold tight to what really matters.