When ESPN college football analyst Rod Gilmore was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer formed by malignant plasma cells) a couple of months ago, he called ESPN colleague Shelley Smith, who fought a public battle with breast cancer in 2014 and 2015. Gilmore wasn’t calling for advice, though; he wanted to team up with Smith to discuss his battle publicly, and to use it to try and raise awareness of the need for annual physical examinations like the one that detected his cancer. This led to the video below of Smith and Gilmore discussing their fights with cancer, recorded when they met up at a Stanford game Smith was working earlier this year:
The video sees both talk about how their cancer was only detected thanks to regular checkups, plus Gilmore discussing how cancer can hit everyone, and him talking about how important it is for him to keep working and keep calling games during his cancer fight. He mentions the loss of control he felt when he was diagnosed with cancer, especially as it pertains to his schedule, and also talks about the support he’s received from friends, colleagues and strangers. It’s an interesting conversation, and one that spotlights the reality of battling cancer. Here’s more from ESPN Front Row on how it came together:
While Smith was used to getting such calls and providing advice, she said, “Rod didn’t need advice; he wanted to share his.”
After Gilmore called his 2016 opening weekend college football matchup at Vanderbilt, he flew home to Northern California. He drove straight to his alma mater, Stanford, to see the Cardinal game against Kansas State and to visit Smith, who was covering the game. They conducted the very special interview above.
It’s good to see Gilmore and Smith put together an interview like this, especially one that highlights the need for cancer awareness and regular checkups. It’s also good that Gilmore’s able to stay so positive in the midst of a fight like this. Here’s wishing him all the best in his continued battle with cancer.