Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pulling for Les

Former KC Star copy editor Les Weatherford used to leave comments on this blog. Les always had something interesting to say. He had started to develop his own following in the comments section when he suddenly stopped commenting. I just found out the reason.

Prayers and best wishes to Les and his wife as they deal with a stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy.

UPDATE: A reader adds this about Les:
Every year around Christmas Les would buy pizza for the entire newsroom, pretty much whoever worked that evening. He'd give me a bunch of cash plus tip for the delivery guy. People always asked who paid for it, but it was always mums the word. He didn't want anyone else to know. That's just the type of guy he is.
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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Les,

As someone who at times, well most of the time, takes an opposite position than you, I just want to say, God bless you, your lovely wife, and you family.

She is a VERY lucky woman to have you, a strong comitted real MAN at her side.

Best wishes to you, your wife, and your family. You are a class act!

Anonymous said...

Les, thinking of you and praying for you in sunny Fla.

Thanks, Host, for the thoughtful post. Nicest thing I have ever read on this blog.

Pg1News said...

Les:
You and your wife are always in my prayers. May God carry you through these difficult times.

Miss you lots.
KK

Anonymous said...

Well at this point I guess I can let the secret out.

Every year around Christmas Les would buy pizza for the entire newsroom, pretty much whoever worked that evening. He'd give me a bunch of cash plus tip for the delivery guy. People always asked who paid for it, but it was always mums the word. He didn't want anyone else to know. That's just the type of guy he is.

Sorry Les. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall Les once mentioned his wife had Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer. My mother had a stem cell transplant, which formerly was called a bone marrow transplant, three years ago. Although the hospital stint and recovery were arduous to say the least, she is in remission leading a perfectly normal life. The best news is, that in the past couple of years, the treatments for blood cancers have made great advancements. New drugs have changed what once was a death sentence, to one ‘almost’ like dealing with a chronic disease. I have spent a lot of time in oncology units these past years, and I have to say, the outlook for Donna is very good, from what I have witnessed first hand. I wish the same results for Donna as my mother, who is out playing golf as I write!

Anonymous said...

I've never met the guy, never heard his name before coming to this blog (last time I said this, I was accused of the opposite) but the impression that comes through in his writing is that of a good guy. I wish the best for them.

Les Weatherford said...

Donna and I deeply appreciate the concern shown by those of you who have posted here or sent us e-mails.

We cannot overemphasize the value of early detection and vigilance. This trip started about a year ago with what we thought was only a pulled muscle, or, at worst, sciatica. Even the first X-ray did not show any cancer. The pain persisted, so the doctor ordered an MRI, which showed a baseball-size malignant tumor at the base of her spine.

Five weeks of radiation seemed to have taken care of the tumor, but in November, Donna began to have sharp pains in her side. We got the diagnosis in early December: multiple myeloma, incurable but treatable.

The goal now is to drive the cancer into remission and keep the pain under control. If we understand corercntly -- and we've had so many facts a figures thrown at us that there's a chance we don't -- the median survival rate is 5.5 years, which is twice the rate it was 20 years ago, and right now doctors think that Donna will be around many more years.

For the rest of her life, however, she will be having frequent exams and blood tests. And there will always be the fear that any sudden, unexplained pain may be a signal that the cancer has returned.

Still, Donna has been extremely upbeat through all this, talking about going back to work when the cancer is gone and visiting our son in Arizona after he and his wife have adopted a child.

Again, thanks to all of you who have responded.

Les and Donna Weatherford

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of providing a second verification to Anon 12:52, i too, during my time at The Star, have picked up cash from Les to pay for the annual newsroom Christmas pizza extravaganza...he always got the good stuff too...*smile*...

Les, you know me very well and have been a big support in my journalism career...i will email you soon, but just to let you know that you and yours are in my thoughts during this difficult time...

Anonymous said...

I, too, thank the host for this thread.... Les is a long-time friend who is indeed a class act. He's also a dedicated journalist who devoted his professional life to making his papers (and that would include mine, before he moved to KC), the best they could be.....

Truly, every paper needs a Les Weatherford....
And someday soon, I expect they'll figure that out.

Please do add your prayers to those of the friends of Les and Donna as she goes through this time of important treatment.

Anonymous said...

This is from another long-time former colleague of Les (from 1993 to 2008). I can't count the number of times that Les caught my mistakes before they got into print. I also observed how he mentored interns and new copy editors, patiently even under unrelenting deadline pressures. I also recall a time when he organized efforts to cheer up another colleague who had been diagnosed with cancer. He was the dedicated professional that every newsroom needs, and the last one who should have been on any list of layoffs -- the expert gatekeeper that differentiates newspapers from blogs. Les, you and Donna are in our thoughts and prayers.