When successful entrepreneur, pastor and racer Don Wickstrum was given an aggressive cancer diagnosis, he felt like life was over. Little did he know, his story was only starting. 

“Even though life may not always seem to present you with the best hand, the best place to put that hand is in the hands of God,” says Wickstrum.

Growing up in a household that experienced significant hardship, Wickstrum wrestled with his faith and lacked a sense of hope for many years. Holding tightly to his childhood dream of racing Pikes Peak, he made a deal with his father to first go to college, where Wickstrum declared himself an atheist and set out to disprove religion.

“Probably midway through my sophomore year, I was getting fed up with this whole Christianity thing because what I started to discover is that it wasn’t as easy to prove wrong as I thought,” Wickstrum recalls. “I specifically remember coming across this moral dilemma, thinking, ‘Okay, I admit it, the Bible’s true and this is legit, but I don’t know that I want to give my life to it.’”

One evening that he will never forget, Wickstrum had a powerful, divine encounter with God that would forever change the trajectory of his life. He surrendered his life to Christ and felt hope in his heart for the first time.

In the following years, Wickstrum became successful in racing, ministry and serial entrepreneurship, owning one of the largest robotic integrators in America. However, in late 2018, everything changed when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer, forcing him to sell his business and evaluate his future.

Fastest pastor

In pondering his wife’s profound question, the Fastest Pastor, as church members and fans affectionately know him, is committed to putting the wheel in God’s hands and pursuing Pikes Peak, aspiring to share his faith and inspire hope in others.

The second-oldest motorsports race in America, the Pikes Peak race has no equal. Boasting 156 turns over a 12.42-mile course, beginning at over 9,300 feet and ending at 14,115 feet above sea level, the harrowing course has long served as a driver’s proving ground. Conquering the climb has been a dream of Wickstrum’s since he first saw the race on TV at eight years old.

He went on to conquer Pike's Peak in 2021. It was captured on film by the global storytelling organization I Am Second.

"This story is for anyone who is searching for hope,” said John Humphrey, Vice President of I Am Second. “We knew Don for several years before his diagnosis, and when we saw what he was trying to accomplish at Pikes Peak, we jumped at the chance to share his powerful story with a larger audience. Don represents his faith in an engaging, authentic way. He has the desire to share the eternal hope he’s found in Christ and he puts his faith into action. That’s an example for all of us.”

Chasing Hope is now available online at iamsecond.com/film/chasing-hope/

Today on Connections, Don shares his powerful testimony and what it was like to find hope.