Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12
NASCAR driver promotes Hepatitis C testing
Story By Meghan Mamlock
Regional News Published 07/29/2021 4:05PM, Last Updated 07/30/2021 7:07PM
Nationwide - The month of July is home to World Hepatitis Day.
Hepatitis causes inflammation in the liver that could lead to more serious health problems.
NASCAR driver Will Rodgers had his own battle with hepatitis at a young age and is now making it his mission to remove stigma and provide access to care.
"Between the time of being diagnosed at 3 years old with primary sclerosing cholangitis, PSC, I endured that for several years but was, you know, very lucky to come out on the other side healthy. I've been healthy for about 20 years or so now," Rodgers said.
Rodgers created the Will Rodgers Liver Foundation in 2020 to work in tandem with his social media presence and bring awareness to the importance of liver health.
"I've been racing for 18 years, not NASCAR of course. I started early on with go-carts. Now I'm up to this point, but it's allowed me to become this liver health ambassador," Rodgers said. "You know, stand up for liver diseases just like hepatitis C and start leading this charge to break down this negative stigma."
Rodgers is making it his mission to educate and bring accessible resources to his NASCAR events for fans and the public to get tested, while also promoting hepatitis testing on his stock car in front of millions.
"Resources for people to talk to with our staff but then antibody testing via our OraSure Technology partners. They provide us with a fantastic antibody test that we can provide in the field to fans," Rodgers said. "It gives you a great indication of where you are on that hepatitis C journey."
Rodgers says you should see a doctor if you have symptoms including yellowing of the eyes, itchy skin, being jaundiced, and fatigued among others.
"There are many different forms of hepatitis, but specifically we're advocating for hepatitis C and that is a viral disease of the liver. It affects up to 3 and a half--possibly more--million Americans every year. It's a pretty prevalent disease that maybe a lot of people aren't talking about," Rodgers said.
If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and liver failure.