It’s been a couple of years since Terry Chandler lost her brave battle with glioblastoma, the same form of cancer that recently took Sen. John McCain. Chandler, as all NHRA fans know, was one of them, someone who derived so much pleasure from racing – from life.
“Before Terry’s diagnosis, I had never heard the term ‘glioblastoma’ and I know I’m not in the minority when I say that,” said Doug Chandler, Terry’s husband. “Finding out my wife had been diagnosed with cancer and that it was the most lethal form of brain cancer and was incurable was devastating. I asked Terry’s team of doctors why there was no cure and they said cures are developed through research and, of course, research takes money. Essentially, funding is what finds a cure.”
Since Terry’s death, Doug Chandler has continued to fund her Don Schumacher Racing “giving cars” that highlight the services afforded people in need. The Infinite Hero Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation’s logos adorn the Funny Cars driven by 2012 class champion Jack Beckman and by Tommy Johnson Jr., respectively.
This weekend Beckman’s Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car will sport new logos as Doug Chandler chooses to recognize The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center during the MOPAR Express NHRA Springnationals outside Houston, Texas.
“By running this car, it’s my goal to raise awareness for glioblastoma and other lesser known forms of brain cancer, which will hopefully lead to more funding for medical research,” Chandler said. “With this race taking place in MD Anderson’s backyard, this was the perfect place to run this car.”
Terry Chandler’s battle with this vicious disease took place at MD Anderson Cancer Center on the University of Texas’ campus. “The team at MD Anderson treated Terry so well,” her husband continued. “There was no question where we would take her to receive treatment; they’re the best. My wife championed great causes to bring awareness to others, whether it be military veterans or sick children. I honor Terry by joining in the fight to find a cure for glioblastoma.”
Through his TLC Foundation, Doug Chandler has awarded two grants to MD Anderson for glioblastoma research.
Don Schumacher Racing team owner Don Schumacher has had his own bout with cancer and is no stranger to the services provided by MD Anderson. In 2014, Schumacher was diagnosed with head and neck cancer and elected to receive treatment at the center. Even under these difficult circumstances, Schumacher said he received “the most effective and best treatment I could have received for my disease,” crediting the MD Anderson team for helping him overcome cancer.
The driver of the MD Anderson Cancer Center car this weekend is, himself, no stranger to the disease. Beckman battled and overcame non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2004.
“I’m a cancer survivor; my mom didn’t beat it,” Beckman said. “It’s something that hit my house hard and then came back years later. I drive for a man who is a cancer survivor, who went to MD Anderson for treatment – and that’s part of the reason he’s still here.
“I drive the car as a tribute to Terry Chandler, a woman who didn’t survive cancer,” Beckman continued. “The folks at MD Anderson did everything they could for her so I feel a debt of gratitude to the people who work there. I can’t think of a better way to pay it forward and pay it back than to fly their colors into the winner’s circle at Houston.”
Beckman’s Funny Car’s MD Anderson colors will be unveiled prior to the first round of qualifying on Friday afternoon at Houston Raceway Park. The Dean Antonelli and John Medlen-led team is looking forward to bringing home the Wally trophy to honor their team owner, Don Schumacher, their benefactor Doug Chandler (continuing his wife Terry’s passion for the sport of drag racing) and for the staff and patients at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Donations to MD Anderson in Terry Chandler’s honor can be made through this website: gifts.mdanderson.org