ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin -- “Come on, that’s for babies!” team owner Michael Andretti heckled as Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato prepared to take the No More Kids with Cancer’s Mustard Challenge.
Sato answered his boss’ taunts Friday evening at Road America by challenging Formula One driver and Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Fernando Alonso to take the challenge, and then putting a large spoonful of green wasabi mustard in his mouth.
Sato winced when the powerful horseradish flavor spread in his mouth and nose. But all for a good cause.
I just took the #MustardChallenge to raise awareness for kids with cancer. I challenge @alo_oficial to try next! @FollowAndretti pic.twitter.com/71NZo63jGA
Sato and his Andretti Autosport teammates – Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti – along with fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal also took the challenge following practice Friday for the KOHLER Grand Prix. The Mustard Challenge raises awareness and funds to discover safer, non-toxic and more effective treatments for children with cancer. By taking the challenge and donating, awareness is raised of the ancient drugs used to treat children and fund groundbreaking research for new treatments.
“Anything for kids,” said Hunter-Reay, an advocate for cancer research through his own charity Racing for Cancer. “I have three kids of my own and have made a lot of hospital visits for kids with pediatric cancer. It’s important. I’ll do whatever we can do at the racetrack to raise awareness for a great cause.”
Children are commonly treated today with 1950s-era drugs derived from the same compounds used in mustard gas. According to reports, only three drugs have been approved for childhood cancer since 1980. These ancient drugs can be highly toxic and cause acute side effects – even death – as children become adults.
“It’s an amazing cause and something I wasn’t aware of,” said Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner. “The current medication is really bad for children and it’s wonderful to be part of this and raise the awareness.”
Hey @chaseelliott @RonCapps28 @BryanHerta you're next! #MustardChallenge #NoMoreKidsWithCancer pic.twitter.com/9aH4BP1y1C
To learn more about the Mustard Challenge, visit http://nomorekidswithcancer.org/mustardchallenge/.
Today I completed the #MustardChallenge, I nominate 4 people but encourage all to do it too! #NoMoreKidsWithCancer pic.twitter.com/qm9lkefJVs