CONCORD, N.C. – Parker Price-Miller figured he’d give his team an extra hand preparing for World of Outlaws World Finals weekend, so he hiked to The Dirt Track at Charlotte early Wednesday morning.
“I was doing whatever I could to help make the day go easier,” said Price-Miller, who didn’t know what he was about to discover.
“When I rolled up in my truck I saw the green car and immediately knew what was going on,” Price-Miller said.
On Thursday, Price-Miller confirmed he’d been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Price-Miller’s Sam McGhee Motorsports team incorporated lime green into their No. 11 livery this week, bringing awareness to lymphoma cancer and their trusted driver’s latest fight. The special look was revealed to Price-Miller and the sprint car world thereafter Wednesday morning.
Price-Miller has mulled the difficult news since Oct. 1 and didn’t initially know how to fathom the roadblocks ahead, as for any cancer patient. The can’t-miss paint scheme with “NOBODY FIGHTS ALONE” emblazoning the top wing empowered Price-Miller, pulling at all the heartstrings.
“I didn’t cry, but it was definitely something that was special,” Price-Miller said. “Just a lot of emotions running through my head right now.”
“It’s a feel-good story I’m sure for everyone,” Price-Miller added. “Makes me feel really good about what’s going on too.”
Price-Miller races at the fourth-mile clay oval tonight and Saturday before trekking back to Kokomo, Ind., to bear the brunt of his fight. Before any sort of radiation treatment begins, Price-Miller awaits a monocular test at Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital.
Those results will reveal the stage and aggressiveness of Price-Miller’s cancer. From there, Price-Miller will find out how rigorous his radiation treatment must be.
“Happy to be racing,” Price-Miller said. “Not necessarily sad … being sad about it is not the way to go about it. I’m just going to live everyday like it’s a normal day and kick my treatment’s ass whenever that happens, at a later date. I’m just here to race.
“My doctors have told me there’s a very good chance of beating this to it being a possibly long road,” Price-Miller said.
The abnormal sensation began Feb. 2019 with pain in his right ankle, something Price-Miller didn’t think too much into.
“I thought it was a bruise or something,” Price-Miller said. “Then 2020 came around and it started to happen more frequently.”
It escalated to a doctor’s visit in the middle of 2020. An X-ray led physicians to believe Price-Miller had been dealing with a bone spur in his right ankle. Price-Miller then opted for surgery Nov. 2020.
“It was really painful, that’s what we thought it was,” Price-Miller said. “Obviously I didn’t want to miss the racing season so I wanted to wait to have surgery.
“Then in May and June, I was having the same ankle problems,” Price-Miller added. “I was going to give up and [say], ‘Eh, it’ll hurt the rest of my life. It’s part of getting older.’ Your body does wear on you.”
Price-Miller’s parents didn’t want him to overlook these concerns, so they encouraged him to get an MRI.
“The doctor’s wording was ‘abnormal finding,’ that’s what he said,” Price-Miller regarding his MRI results.
Price-Miller then went in for a Computer Tomography scan, which disclosed a tumor inside his right ankle bone. The biopsy confirmed it was cancerous.
“It was kind of a shock,” said Price-Miller, whose best-case scenario is a low stage of cancer, which would require a month or two of radiation.
“They thought with how long I was having the issues that it was going to be throughout my body, my lymph node system and possibly the bone marrow. Luckily it came back only in my leg.”
Somehow, Price-Miller blocked out one of the biggest fears in human existence to win at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park the night after his diagnosis on Oct. 2.
Even in that glorious moment, Price-Miller couldn’t convey the fight from within to the world. Now, he doesn’t need to convey much. His support is prevalent.
“My phone’s been blowing up a lot,” Price-Miller said. “Really cool to see all that stuff [and] thankful. Sometimes you don’t see that with how harsh the racing Twitter can be but it’s nice to see everyone still has my back. It makes you feel better and makes it better through the tough times.”