In June of 2016, Kevin Kromer was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He immediately began several weeks of daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. Three months after being diagnosed and undergoing treatments, Kevin underwent an extremely dangerous and difficult surgery to remove his tumor. His surgeon had to remove two thirds of his esophagus and one third of his stomach. It took several weeks for Kevin to recover and heal. Upon his recovery, his oncologist informed him that he qualified for an immunotherapy trial. After weighing the pros and cons, Kevin chose to participate in the trial. Whether Kevin would be receiving the drug or the placebo is a fact that will never be known outside of the trial company. Kevin continued the infusions of the immunotherapy trial for a full year. Since the trial ended in November of 2017, he continues to meet with his oncologist and members of the research team for CT scans, blood work and continued progress review. He considers himself to be blessed that he remains cancer free today.
When Kevin was diagnosed, he immediately was frightened that his life would be over. He was distraught over the idea of not seeing his children and grandchildren continue to grow. He was hesitant of undergoing treatment and surgery due to the effects it may have on his quality of life. However, like many, the thought of not having treatment or surgery could have a much more devastating risk and outcome. It is at this point that he decided to begin treatment. While meeting and talking to other cancer patients during treatments, Kevin gained the hope and strength to continue his fight. His passion for racing also helped to motivate him. Nearing his final treatments he had a very low platelet count and doctors could not continue his treatment. He had set a goal for himself to run one last race before undergoing surgery, however, doctors recommended that he not do it because the slightest injury could be life taking. Against orders, Kevin chose to fulfill his goal and race. The support that was given to him from everyone at the track including staff, fellow competitors and fans left Kevin speechless and overwhelmed with emotion. He carried that support with him as he went into surgery.
From the time he was diagnosed, and still today, Kevin is forever grateful to everyone near and far who provided him hope and strength. It is upon this notion that he has made it his mission to give back and do for others what so many did for him. He and his wife Kelly set forth to create a non-profit corporation that would allow them to do events, promotions and partnering with others to help create funds for cancer patients and continued research for finding a cure. Since Kevin's passion for stock car racing and many people affiliated with it were such a large motivator and support system as he battled cancer, he chose that as the primary theme for his cause. This is how "Mission R.A.C.E.R." was founded. "Raising Awareness and Curing Everyone with Research". Mission R.A.C.E.R. represents one survivor's determination to provide hope to others while supporting research until a cure is found.