A few months ago I wrote "Racing as a Cancer Survivor Pt.1." It was a blog about how I'm a cancer survivor and how it has affected me even to this day. The purpose is to introduce people to Jonathan Sugianto The Cancer Survivor, and not Jonathan Sugianto The Racecar Driver. Hopefully, you'll get a better understanding of who I am outside the track.
I ended Part 1 with my Make A Wish experience so let's start there.
Make A Wish contacted my around 2005. A representative came over to my house and wanted to give me an opportunity to make my wish come true. Even before she sat down to ask me questions, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to meet my hero, 4 time Nascar Champion Jeff Gordon. She filled out the paperwork, left my house, and filed my wish at their headquarters. A few months passed before I heard that my wish had been granted!
Soon, I found myself packing for what would be the greatest moment in my life. When the day finally came to fly out to meet Jeff at the Michigan International Speedway, a limo came to pick me up from my house. From there, I flew first class to Lansing, Michigan and stayed at one of the nicest hotels I've ever been in. I hadn't met Jeff yet but I the experience so far was unreal! Two days after I landed in Michigan, the time came to head to the track to meet my hero. I got to tour the speedway, meet other Make A Wish kids, and even meet other drivers. That didn't matter to me though, I wanted to meet my hero.
The next thing I knew, I was sitting outside Jeff's motorhome. My heart rate was higher than ever. I was so nervous to meet this legend, but before I knew it he came out of his motorhome and said, "Hey there Jonathan! Im Jeff Gordon." I was starstruck. The man who I worshiped as a kid was right in from of me. After a conversations about the racing season and NASCAR in general, we talked about things outside racing. This included California, basketball, movies and superheroes. It was like talking to an old friend! It only felt like I had met Jeff for 5 mins but it was really 30mins. In other words, Jeff had to leave or he would be late for his drivers meeting. He took one last photo with me, gave me his hat, wished me good luck, and left. Yep...it was the greatest moment of my life.
So that's how my passion for racing began. Not ever kid can meet their hero, I was lucky enough to meet mine. And ever since that moment, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a racecar driver...
Well that's it for Part 2. In the 3rd and last blog of this series I'll talk about how I deal with being a cancer survivor today. Thanks as always for reading and supporting me!
Till next time!