This 18-year-old battling cancer is taking to the racetrack after vowing a shoulder surgery wouldn’t get in the way of his dreams to become a professional driver.
Miguel Navarro, 18, sped around the tracks of Pacific Raceways supported by his very own pit crew, thanks to a surprise by Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“Whenever I’m driving my car, it was always an escape from the world,” Navarro said, shortly after he was surprised on the track. “I just knew I wanted to be back on the road driving stick.”
While his car of choice was his own stick-shift Honda, he got the chance to pick out his own race-course ready car, specifically designed for the track.
Navarro was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after doctors found a tumor in his right shoulder. He began treatment in January 2018, walking away from his senior year of high school in order to beat the tumor.
Before undergoing chemotherapy, Navarro would have to undergo a surgery to remove the tumor.
“The surgery, they basically took my arm off my body and put it back on,” he explained.
Unfortunately, it was in the same arm which he needs to control the gear stick in his car.
“When I first got out of my cast and stuff, I could not move my arm,” Navarro recalled.
But he worked hard in physical therapy, which included practicing on a racing simulator.
Little did he know, all that was to prepare for his big day behind the wheel.
“His positive attitude has gotten him through a really tough time,” his orthopedic oncologist Dr. Matthew Thompson said. “To see Miguel back in his environment, doing something he loves, is so exciting. I’m very proud of him.”