Background: Johan Schwartz Racing is a team effort for Johan and me at home, at the race track, and running our
business interests. We have two very active children, Johan (11) and Alden (7) who love soccer, swimming and tennis.
Together we ran our own business, Endurance Karting, for 12 years, an arrive and drive format using karts for schools,
endurance races, charity events and corporate team building events. In 2013, we sold our business to pursue other
opportunities, one of which was to focus on Johan’s personal racing, road racing to be exact.
Last October, we decided to dedicate our time to developing the necessary sponsorship and marketing to put Johan in a car for a full race season and selected the road racing series Pirelli World Challenge. Going into this project, we knew
Johan would have a good shot at the championship, but most certainly podium finishes. We determined it would be best to share our successes for a great cause.
Cancer: My family has a deep and long history with cancer. My
grandmother died at 45 from cancer (she had two different kinds.),
one of her sisters died at 42 leaving two young children, and 6 out
of 8 of her other siblings also had various forms of cancer in their
lieftime. In 1979, my family became part of a study by a young
researcher named Mary-Claire King, who is credited with
discovering the BRCA 1 gene in 1990. My family, a large and
extended one with 10 Tomkins children at my grandmother’s
generation, has continued in the study. Many of my father’s
generation and their children carry the cancer gene. My father does not; therefore, I am not a carrier. Not being a carrier has only fueled my desire to serve the cancer community, as so many members of my family carry a burden of being a genetic carrier.
Cancer and Racing: Now the part of the story where racing and Prostate Cancer come together: Both Johan’s and my mothers are cancer survivors (breast and uterine cancer, respectively), so cancer has hit close to home. Johan and I both have marketing and business backgrounds that spans beyond our go-kart business; Johan has an MBA and worked for Fidelity and Mullen Advertising, and I worked in telecom, pharmaceuticals and HR.
About four years ago while driving home, we passed a pink backhoe on display for Breast Cancer Awareness. Pink was also making its way onto several NASCAR cars at this time. In that moment, I asked aloud, “Why isn’t anyone doing this for men? Does Prostate Cancer have a color and ribbon?” I said to Johan, “When we are able to get you in a race car full time, we are going to promote men’s health.” Immediately upon returning home, I discovered Prostate Cancer has a light blue ribbon.
2015 Racing Season: Fast forward to last October. The time is finally
here to put Johan in a car for the full season, and we have made Prostate
Cancer Awareness: Early Detection + Education = Best Outcome our
cause and campaign. My research led me to the non-profit ZERO Cancer:
The End of Prostate Cancer. We reached out and established a partnership to bring awareness to the racing community. We looked to our immediate network for sponsorship with the
goal of making this season about Prostate Cancer Awareness our top
priority. Our network was enthused; however, we had missed most budget deadlines, so we knew we were likely going to come up short in funding the car. That did not deter us because this was too important. John McAleer with CASGroup believed in us and our cause and became a gold level sponsor. Smaller sponsors have also helped get us this far in the season, including Custom DieCasts, Eventville, Celestial Products and TechSport Racing.
In the middle of pulling all of this together and just days before Christmas, my Uncle Dennis announced he had been
diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. It has hit close to home for sure. My uncle, a BRCA II gene carrier, has
regular checkups, and still here he is, a battle ahead of him. I am only further fueled. We have to get the word out there. We have to make a difference.
RaceSeason Report - Heading to Finales: The season is now half way completed – we have five
event weekends behind us, a total of 15 races and Johan's record is:
10 1st place finishes/points for first place
1 2nd place finish
1 3rd place finish
numerous fastest lap of the race honors, most laps led
and other special awards
These have been wins not only for Johan, but also for Prostate
Cancer Awareness and ZEROCancer.org, as we have worked hard
and gotten great coverage with the commentators during live
streaming of the races and the one- hour highlight show on CBS Sports one week after each event weekend. There
have been successes, and as of now, the beginning of August, Johan leads the championship standings by one point.
We plan to finish the season strong. See details about race resutls.
Our final three races are coming up at Laguna Seca, September 11th -14th and we are excited that the season finale
is the weekend prior to National Prostate Cancer Awareness week. We have the opportunity to make a splash and
plan to do just that!
Goals in Making a Difference for Prostate Cancer Awareness: When we first
started this project, our goal was to get the message accross on the race car. As each day
continued in putting the program together and we learned more and more facts about
Prostate Cancer, it became clear - it simply wasn't enough The opportunity is in front of us to
help make an impact for the men and families of today, for our childrens generation, and
generations to come. We know this is only a start to what we can and will do bringing the
message of Prostate Cancer Awareness and Early Deterction front and center.
Champions: Battled hard and have passed on
Surivors: Beat Prostate Cancer
Warriors: Currently undergoing treatment
You helped us make an impact: Our goal was
to raise $10,000 in 10 days with the funds being used to
continue and further develope our platform to raise
awareness for Prostate Cancer through our racing and
at track events. Thanks to many gifters we exceeded
our goal raising $12,500 in 9 days.
We are leaving our campaign video up because we
beleive the facts about prostate cancer presented are
important to learn and/or be reminded of.
Click on ZERO for comprehensive information from diagnosis, to treatment, to recovery. Check out upcoming locations for Run/Walks.
Check out the cars/teams showing their support for Prostate Cancer! Click here for full photo gallery
A special thank you
to those who have helped me in the past and those who
are helping now - running a full season for the
championship in a professional level series has always
been a dream of mine. It is an honor to not only go after
my dream, but turn it into a way to give back in the form
of Men's Health - Prostate Cancer Awareness.