When 33 cars line up Sunday, May 27, for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, each of them will be displaying the names and logos of various sponsors.
Sponsor ads are as much a part of racing as high-octane fuel and pit crews – and just as important. But for Jay Howard, having the Colorado State University One Cure mark prominently displayed on his sleek, green and black No. 7 car is much more than a simple sponsorship.
“One Cure is literally my ideal Indy 500 sponsor – I couldn’t think of a better partner,” said Howard, who will be making his third start in the so-called Greatest Spectacle in Racing. “It means the world to me to be racing for One Cure. To be racing for something that is so near and dear to my heart, well, it’s just incredible.”
Spreading the word
One Cure, a project led by CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center, utilizes research from innovative cancer treatments for pets involved in clinical trials to benefit people. The center sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 400 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials. These canine and feline patients help to pioneer cancer research, moving treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope to the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.
This will be Howard’s second Indy sporting the CSU logo. One Cure came to sponsor Howard, one of the world’s top IndyCar drivers and part of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, through the generosity of a donor who loves racing and One Cure, and stepped in to help the cancer center raise awareness and support with a new audience and on a larger scale.
Seeing the team in action
When One Cure came on as his primary sponsor, Howard, who was born in England but lives with wife and son just outside Indianapolis, had to see for himself what the program was all about. He has twice visited the Flint Animal Cancer Center to check out the facility and the people on the front lines of CSU’s cancer battle.
“I love visiting the Flint Animal Cancer Center; the people are very special,” he said. “I just love the teamwork involved in their process. There are many similarities between racing and what they do at the cancer center. Everyone meets to talk about things and how to best make progress. It’s very impressive – a true team effort.”
Howard, too, has made an impression at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, which is part of the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Jay again this year,” said Dr. Christine Hardy, One Cure program lead. “Over the past 15 months he has been a true champion for One Cure. He’s taken the time to visit us twice to see our work in action and rarely a day goes by that he doesn’t mention our name. We can’t wait to see the One Cure car racing around the track Memorial Day weekend!”
‘Love dogs, hate cancer’
Howard said he is particularly drawn to the work at CSU because he lost his dog – “my best friend” – to cancer as a child.
“I love dogs, hate cancer. That pretty much sums it up,” he said. “Cancer touches just about everyone, whether it’s a relative, friend or an animal. We all hate it and we all want to beat it. That’s why the goal of Flint Animal Cancer Center is so special to me.”