Andrew Lee of Silver Spring, MD was diagnosed with a rare and incurable kidney cancer known as Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC) at 19 years old. His fight against cancer has led him through an incredible journey that involved driving and modifying his dream car, the Nissan GTR. He and his father has put together the charity Driven To Cure, designed to bring attention to the study of rare cancers and help fund research done by institutions like the NIH. His story and his Liberty Walk GTR is captured in glorious 4K below:
After being diagnosed last year at the age of 19 with a rare and incurable kidney cancer known as HLRCC, I established Driven to Cure, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help others. I was diagnosed at Massachusetts General Hospital on May 12th, 2015 at the end of my freshman year at the University of New Hampshire. I was told that my Stage 4 kidney cancer would not respond to any of the approved cancer treatments available today.
Fortunately, the doctors at Mass General Hospital referred me to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where researchers have had some success with an experimental treatment program for my type of cancer. I am proud to be Number 42 in the trial treatment program, and thrilled that, thanks to their incredible work, the doctors at NIH are having success prolonging my life. (To learn more about HLRCC click here)
As the dust began to settle from my finding out about the cancer, I remember sitting down with my dad, as the clock was ticking. He stood there and asked a simple question. “Andrew” he said, “what are your life goals?” I thought for a moment with this new lens on life, looked at him, and chuckled “Well I need to own my dream car sometime in my life.” But my dad didn’t take it as a joke.
As I journeyed back to Maryland to begin tests and experimental treatments, my dad began an incredible project to make my goal and dream come true. Three weeks after being diagnosed, I found myself sinking in to the soft leather of my very own brand new Nissan GTR. It was more than a dream come true.
My GTR has proven to be the closest thing I have to a cure for my cancer. Over the past seven months, it has been a tremendous outlet for me. The places I have gone, the people I have met, and the passions I have developed just because of this gift have become the best medicine available. Within days of driving the car off the lot I found myself attending local car shows, answering lots of questions, and creating new friendships with people of all different backgrounds. As folks started talking, my story began spreading and within a month people started knowing who I was and why I had this incredible vehicle. It was clear my situation had a big impact on others and I suddenly found myself experiencing an immense outpouring of love and support. It was then I realized that the vehicle of my dreams was also the vehicle which gave me the opportunity to make a difference; to do something bigger than myself. That is why I am here, writing this story.
I created Driven to Cure to join two of my biggest passions, cars and cancer awareness, and to serve something far greater than myself. According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer affects 31,000 Americans annually, killing 11,900 of them. I was told at the time of my diagnosis that I might survive a year or more. I have chosen to fight this horrible disease and to help others in this process. Driven to Cure’s goal is to bring awareness and additional research funding to find a cure soon for rare kidney cancer diseases, including the development of the next generation of drugs to help others. Your generous donation will help to accomplish this goal and will make a difference in the lives of children, young adults, and their families affected by these diseases.
Please help us spread the word and to find new support! Together we can help those who suffer from rare kidney cancers.
With Great Appreciation,