David Ostella will maintain his fight to raise awareness of breast cancer by continuing the Dash From Breast Cancer campaign into the 2015 race season.
Ostella decided to use the platform provided by joining the premier sports car racing series in North America, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, to do something bigger than racing this season. He was inspired by the charitable work his family friend Anna Rossetti did after surviving breast cancer twice. Ostella created the Dash From Breast Cancer campaign to help Rossetti’s Wings of Hope foundation raise awareness and funding for others suffering from the disease.
This season Ostella spent time traveling to multiple hospitals, touring oncology departments and visiting patients and staff. He gathered knowledge of the different types of treatments available and the additional benefits hospitals can add to care for the patients, such as garden areas to relax.
Ostella spent time with many patients and hospital staff members who shared stories of survival. He recalls one particularly moving story.
“One story I remember was of a mother we met at Watkins Glen,” Ostella said. “She had been pregnant with twins and had a 3-year-old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to deliver early so that she could start treatment. Luckily, she survived, and her kids are healthy, too. Hearing how scared she was for her kids and how it affected the whole family really pulled at my heart strings.”
Toronto native Ostella will continue donating time to hospital patients. But with the stories and information he has gathered, Ostella sees his next step with Dash From Breast Cancer to include raising more awareness.
“One of the big things Anna was impressed with was that at 22 I am aware of what any form of cancer can do to a life or a family,” Ostella said. “She said herself that at my age she would never have thought she would be someone with cancer or who survived cancer. It made me think of focusing on what more I could do to raise awareness.”
Youth will become the target audience for Ostella. With the 2015 United SportsCar Championship schedule finalized, Ostella plans to take his message to schools.
“Next year I would like to take my message into high schools to educate kids on cancer and my campaign,” Ostella said. “To find a cure or even help patients we have to have people inspired to do the work. Racing across the U.S. and next year going to my home track, Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), gives me the opportunity to spread that message and get people interested in learning more and helping out.”
Ostella credits his success this year and the inspiration to continue his work to all those who have participate in his campaign. He hopes patients and program patrons have seen his effort as worthwhile and will help him continue his work, whether it’s letting him share their story or donating on davidostella.com/dash-from-breast-cancer.
“I really have to thank everyone who has taken the time to donate and share their time with me,” Ostella said. “It’s really not just me out there giving back. It takes a group effort, and I have to thank everyone who has taken the time to help, whether it was visiting the website or coming out to the track in their pink T-shirts.”
Those interested in joining Ostella’s campaign can go to davidostella.com/dash-from-breast-cancer and donate. The page also features more details on how the campaign got started. To find out if Ostella will be making visits near you view davidostella.com/schedule.
Up next for Ostella will be a stop at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas with a visit to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. Ostella will give away t-shirts and race day tickets to patients and breast cancer survivors.