After one of the toughest days of his career on-track on Sunday, Thomas Randle was able to spread some cheer and give a bunch of young cancer patients the thrill of their life on Monday.
In remission himself from a battle with testicular cancer, Randle on Monday was able to take 20 young cancer patients from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, for a ride at Sandown aboard a Tickford Racing Ford Mustang Supercar.
“I was given so much support from so many people in my cancer battle, so this is something I could do to help others going through the same experience,” Randle said.
“It made me emotional hearing their stories, and when they said it was the greatest day of their young lives – that’s a huge thing – because I know what they’re going through.
“Lots of the guys and girls were either in remission like me, and some are still being treated – so they’re living a kind of hell right now – so if we could put a smile on their face and give them some treasured memories, then it’s a huge thing for us and the sport.
“I have a feeling Supercars will have a bunch of brand new fans after today!”
The young cancer patients were part of the ONTrac Youth Centre Program at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Centre – the same program Randle experienced as he battled cancer across the past 12 months.
“The Peter Mac Centre is where I had my chemo and it’s where my surgeon is based, so I know a lot about the facility,” Randle said.
“The ONTrac program is for young people who have cancer and it’s brilliant to teach them everything they need to know, in what is normally a pretty stressful time.”
The participants each received a gift bag – stacked with Tickford and Castrol gear – before joining Randle on a 260 kilometre an hour blast around Sandown.
Tickford Racing co owner Rusty French made a donation at the end of the day to the Peter Mac Centre for $5,000.
“One of the parents told me at the end of the day that it was the first time he’d seen his son smile in three months – so it’s nice to be able to do something good for these kids who have been dealt a really difficult hand with their cancer ordeals,” Randle said.
“And the donation at the end from Rusty just shows the quality of the man – he knows how important that money is for the Peter Mac Centre.”
The ride day was the high point of a difficult weekend for the 24 year old – having lost the lead of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship after a brutal Sunday at Sandown.
“It was certainly up there with some of the most challenging days I’ve had in motorsport,” Randle said.
“We had issues in each of the three races, and now we’re up against it to win the title with a round to go”
“I think they call that a character building weekend – I’d just like to thank my team and loyal supporters for sticking by us – Castrol, Skye Sands, Form 700, Alabar, ACT Fence Hire, DeVilbiss and Pilatus who help allow us to race.”
Randle failed to finish the opening heat, before posting finishes of third and sixth across the rain swept day.
He now trails Joey Mawson in the title fight by 40 points ahead of the S5000 final round at Sydney Motorsport Park next month.