January 11, 2011

Keep on livin': Racing series entertains and educates about hepatitis C

By MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer

Published: 1/10/2011 2:21 AM
Last Modified: 1/10/2011 5:25 AM

For online information about hepatitis C from the Centers for Disease Control and Pevention

Tulsa comedian Susan Dale likes to say that her family is "biracial: They're half white-trash, half red-neck," or, for short: "Red-trash."

The adventures of Dale's Kansas-based family, and its national road-racing team, are chronicled in the TV pilot of the reality series "Livin' 4 Racin' Time."

The pilot stars, among others, Susan and her parents, along with her brothers: Allen Dale, who is head driver, and Don Dale, head mechanic.

The pilot will air at 2 p.m. Saturday on KTUL, channel 8.

A four-part version of the pilot is available on YouTube.

On the side of the team's various vehicles, including a 1987 Camaro and an Indy-style racecar, these words are painted in orange: "Get Tested. Hepatitus C." Of course, Allen Duke misspelled hepatitis, which is a running joke in the family. But hepatitis C isn't funny.

"There are approximately 35,000 new cases of hepatitis C in the United States every year," according to information on the Tulsa Health Department website. "About 85 percent of those infected develop chronic liver disease, while approximately 25 percent eventually develop scarring in the liver (cirrhosis). An estimated 10,000-15,000 people die from hepatitis C each year.

"On average, there are 300 cases of acute and chronic hepatitis C each year in Tulsa County."

People at risk of hepatitis C include:

"Anyone who had a transplant, blood transfusion, or received blood products prior to July 1992," according to the health department, "intravenous (IV) drug users, even if drug use only occurred once, and patients with kidney disease who are required to undergo blood filtration (hemodialysis)."

No one in Susan Dale's family has hepatitis C, but a former classmate inspired Allen Duke to use the team's racecars as fast-moving billboards, even if that meant sacrificing precious advertising space. Soon after, Susan Dale's production company Lynn-Baxter Studios - Lynn is her middle name - aimed to film the series and public service announcements about the importance of getting tested for hepatitis C.

A documentary about hepatitis C is also in the works.

Dale, who works three jobs these days, helms the series, which is produced with help from several thousand dollars donated by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The pilot was partially filmed at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings.

The pilot has aired on the Florida-based River Broadcasting Network, Dale said. And five other cable networks have contacted her about airing the series once it has a handful of professional-quality shows ready to air.

Dale said of the new reality series: "We know this is changing people's lives."


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