SPOKANE, Wash. - The road to the driver's seat was not an easy one for Gabe Tesch.
“My doctors told me I could never race cars at all. It was actually worse than finding out I had cancer,” the 16-year-old said.
Three years ago, random seizures became a family nightmare.
“When we got the diagnosis of brain cancer we thought, OK. This is pretty much as bad as it can get,” explained Gabe's father, Jake Tesch.
Reminders of that not so distant time are everywhere for the father and son.
“This is Gabe's number, 48.” His dad said as he pointed to the number emblazoned on the front of a race car. “We came up with the number 48 because of 48 days of radiation, 48 weeks of chemo.”
The journey taught both Gabe and his father a lesson, that many do not get the good fortune of learning so young.
"It changed a lot about me because now I live every day just trying to live the best day of my life every day,” Tesch said.
And the best are spent at the track.
“I didn't think I was ever going to be here and doing this, at the top level,” said Tesch.
"So many people just survive life and this is a constant reminder that every day is important,” said Jake.
A thriver and a driver who also gives others battling the same monster he did: the gift of hope.
He helps raise money for organizations like the American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest, by auctioning off demos in his driving simulator.
Tesch shares it with patients, like he once was, for free.
“There are a lot of kids out there who don't know what they'll do after. They feel stuck and I thought, you know, I'll help them get on the road,” said Tesch.
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