UPDATE: A GoFundMe page has been established to assist Brian Till and his family with his medical expenses. Click here to lend your support.
Former IndyCar driver and veteran broadcaster Brian Till will miss the remainder of the racing season as he seeks treatment for throat cancer.
Like Joey Hand, Tommy Milner, and others in the IMSA paddock who’ve been forced to skip a few events this year for health-related reasons, the Texas native will step away beginning in September as he starts radiation and chemotherapy treatments that will allow a return to regular duties next season.
Aside from an upcoming visit to Monterey for IMSA’s Lamborghini race, Till’s immediate travel plans have come to an end.
“I do plan to be back, completely healthy and ready to rock, at the Rolex 24 in January,” he told RACER.
In addition to his familiar role covering sports car and open-wheel races on television, Till also serves as a race steward and driving instructor. Working with his doctors, the timing of his treatments have been arranged to coincide with a full resumption of all work-related duties in January.
“I start all the treatment protocols next week, and we wanted to get them going now so I have some time on the back end to recuperate and recharge before getting back to business in the New Year,”he added.
While preparing for a rough close to 2019, Till has learned about the specific type of cancer he’s about to fight, and hopes his experience will encourage others in the racing community and beyond to pursue a simple vaccination that can prevent its occurrence.
“I have HPV-related tonsil and throat cancer,” he said. “The number of adults who either have or have had the HPV virus is staggering; my doctor at the Cleveland Clinic says he just considers it to be 100 percent. We mostly hear HPV mentioned with young girls and women, but for men, HPV head and neck cancers are now at near epidemic levels. At the Cleveland Clinic, they estimate between 75-80-percent of all new head and neck cancer diagnosis are HPV-related.
“As the surgeon in Cleveland told me, ‘Everyone wants a cure for cancer or a cancer vaccine. And right now, this [HPV-related cancer] is the ONLY cancer that actually does have a vaccine, and everyone should take advantage of it for their children.”