If You Don't Know Wendy Chioji, You Should
Former Orlando news anchor shares her cancer journey through a blog that encourages us all to "Live Fearlessly."
UPDATE: I'm sorry to report that just a few hours after I posted this story -- and less than 2 weeks after she wrote on her blog that she was "moving forward relentlessly" with an experimental treatment -- Wendy Chioji lost her battle with cancer. She was 57. Despite this sad news, or maybe even because of it, I encourage you to visit her website, read her blog, and learn from her bravery and wisdom. Scott James, founder of the
probably put it best: "I can assure you that not one of Wendy Chioji's friends will remember how she died, but we damn well will remember how she lived!"
I've been following Wendy Chioji's story for a little while. Before Sparkt I worked in a TV newsroom in Pittsburgh, and Wendy was a news anchor in Orlando. TV news is a small community, so I couldn't help but hear about her cancer battle.
You can follow her journey too -- including her bravery, perseverance and her effort to live life to its fullest -- through her Live Fearlessly website . That's where she blogs about her experience and hope, shares the stories of others battling cancer, and posts episodes of her Emmy-nominated TV series Surviving and Thriving , which supports people facing all kinds of life challenges.
This is Wendy's third time as a cancer warrior. She survived Stage II breast cancer in 2001. Give up? No way! She quit TV, underwent treatment, moved to Utah and completed 5 Ironman triathlons.
In the fall of 2013, Wendy was diagnosed with Thymic Carcinoma , a rare, aggressive cancer that is usually discovered late because it has few symptoms. Her's was found earlier because of her regular breast cancer screening.
Once again, she wasn't willing to give up. Just a few weeks after she finished her radiation, chemo, and surgery, Wendy climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation . T hey made a documentary -- here's the trailer (Wendy's in the wine-colored Thredbo knitted cap with white stripes):
In the fall of 2014, the Thymic Carcinoma came back. Now she's in a clinical trial and hopeful now that her cancer isn't spreading. "I am grateful I have lived well on my borrowed time for five years this Labor Day," Wendy blogged. "I am hopeful I'll borrow five more."
I remain unafraid to die, but not now. I'm not ready. I haven't finished fighting with all the weapons available to me, and I have too many things to do and places to go.
Wendy remains relentlessly positive.When her doctors asked if she felt the new treatments working, she wrote "If its not my imagination, I have."
Will we all face our fears by running a triathlon or climbing a mountain like Wendy Chioji? Probably not. But if you're battling cancer or any other life challenge, you might want to borrow some of Wendy's positivity and energy to get you through it.