Cancer survivor credits hot sauce with saving his life

Randy Schmitz
(Courtesy: ABC News)

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WKRN)  A cancer survivor claims a spontaneous hot sauce challenge saved his life.

Randy Schmitz of Orland Park, Illinois was on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last summer when he stopped by a hot sauce store called Pepper Palace.

He signed up for the store’s hot sauce challenge, where contestants line up to dip a toothpick in hot sauce and place it on their tongues.

Randy Schmitz
(Courtesy ABC News)

“I’ve done some other challenges in the past – this was possibly the worst one,” Schmitz, 30, told ABC News. “I made it the five minutes. My sister then said she wanted to take the challenge, but I said, ‘You might want to hold off, I’m feeling really sick.'”

“My head was feeling really off,” he said. “Next thing I know, I wake up in a stretcher in a hospital hallway covered in vomit and I had no clue what had happened.”

Schmitz had suffered a seizure. After he had an MRI, it was revealed he had a cancerous brain tumor.

Within days, Schmitz was home in Illinois, where he had surgery to remove the tumor.

Randy Schmitz
(Courtesy ABC News)

Schmitz finished radiation treatments just in time for his wedding.

Now enjoying life as a newlywed, Schmitz is grateful for the hot sauce he claims saved his life.

“They don’t know exactly how long it was in there, so it would have just kept growing and might have gotten to the point where they couldn’t remove it,” he said. “My life would have been over.”

Craig Migawa, founder and CEO of Pepper Palace Inc., said in a statement, “We are honored to have been a part of this story and we are humbled to know something as simple as a hot sauce can make such a difference.”

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