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10TV weather chief battles cancer, grateful for support

By KEN GORDON The Columbus Dispatch Published: July 5, 2017 12:00 AM
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COLUMBUS -- Three months into his battle with leukemia, Chris Bradley has moments when his relentless optimism falters.

In those times, he said, he has many people he can turn to: colleagues at WBNS-TV (Channel 10); a church family; and, in particular, his husband and two children.

"We have a term we use whenever we find ourselves looking too far forward," husband Jason Bradley-Krauss said. "We call it 'the rabbit hole.' It can be scary, and there are a lot of unknowns in this. So we say that we hope we're not both in the rabbit hole at the same time, and we just try to be supportive of each other."

Bradley, chief meteorologist for Channel 10 since 2006, is buoyed by the unwavering support.

"The diagnosis was obviously a shock to all of us," he said. "But Jason has been great and very strong through this, and the kids (Spencer, 12, and Maria, 10) have done well with it."

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He is likewise grateful for the love he has felt from his employer and the larger Columbus community.

"The station has been amazing, and the outpouring of support from our 10TV audience has been unbelievable," said Bradley, 51, who lives in Worthington. "So even in the troubled waters, you can really find beauty."

Bradley's ordeal began on March 22, when he went to see a doctor because he had been feeling especially tired and a bit feverish.

He was told that he probably had the flu -- to go home and rest.

The next day, he said, he could hardly walk without feeling winded and felt discomfort in his chest. The doctor sent him to the emergency department at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where a blood test revealed acute myeloid leukemia.

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"I was in complete shock," Bradley said.

Within days of the diagnosis, he started chemotherapy. The goal is to get the disease in remission, so he can receive a bone-marrow transplant -- the only possible cure.

The good news for Bradley: Doctors have identified a bone-marrow donor match.

The bad news: He has a more aggressive strain of the disease, and two rounds of chemo did not render the cancer in remission.

Bradley will soon finish round three, after which he hopes to receive the go-ahead for a transplant.

"One of the big things I've learned is I have no control over what's happening, so I have to put my faith in the good Lord and let it go and just sort of be patient," he said. "And that's easier said than done."

Bradley and his family are longtime members of King Avenue United Methodist Church, whose congregation has rallied behind them all.

Along with his colleagues at WBNS, church members have been involved in a "meal train," supplying dinners to the family regularly.

One church member also made up orange bracelets that read, "No One Fights Alone."

"I'm still wearing mine," said John Keen, senior pastor. "I probably pray for Chris once a day. They both have been amazingly supportive of the church, and their faith is deep and genuine."

Because the chemotherapy has weakened his immune system, Bradley has to avoid crowds. To allow him to attend worship services, church officials rope off a balcony.

"The first Sunday that Chris came back, during prayer time when we mentioned that he was here, the congregation just started applauding," Keeny said. "And they kept applauding."

WBNS meteorologist Ashlee Baracy is helping to fill Bradley's role during his absence. She also is among those regularly providing meals to Bradley and has been impressed by his attitude.

"No one is more positive than Chris," Baracy said. "Whenever I drop off something at his house, I always walk away feeling more optimistic about his situation than I was before.

"We get the updates, and they're not all up to our expectations. But then you go see him, and you walk away with your spirits lifted. He truly believes from the bottom of his heart that he's going to conquer this."

Bradley said he sometimes times wrestles with the "why" of his situation.

"You try to find a rhyme or reason."

For the most part, though, the outpouring of support has helped him stay positive, he said.

"It's so humbling to hear that so many people have added me to their prayer list or are thinking about me.

"So I humbly take that positive energy and the prayers and send them back out to everybody -- and I sure hope that's going to help me get through this."

kgordon@dispatch.com


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