News Anchor’s Health Battle: ‘Just had to let go, have faith’

“A power greater than yourself is in charge.”

(CHICAGO NEWS) As a journalist, you tell other people’s stories, keeping yours private.

PHOTO: Rob Stafford, Facebook

Then, life happens, and you find your story relevant in the public discourse — as example, or as lesson, or maybe just from the need to connect with those who honor you by reading or watching.

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“I’m the old-fashioned journalist, where you just keep the eye out, talk about other people’s stories,” said NBC5’s Rob Stafford, who’s co-anchored the 10, 6 and 5 p.m. newscasts since 2009, joining NBC5 as weekend anchor/reporter in 2007.

“But as an anchor, you become a part of people’s lives. And if I was going to disappear for what I thought would be four months, I had to tell viewers what I was going to do,” said the award-winning journalist, who previously had stints at Dateline NBC and CBS-2.

Diagnosed in January with the rare blood disease amyloidosis, the 58-year-old broadcaster will return Monday to the chair from which he has been missing the past six months, as he engaged in a very public fight for his life against a disease afflicting fewer than 2,000 Americans each year.

His journey didn’t have to be public. Yet Stafford chose to have it so, taking viewers along on a poignant battle tracked on Facebook — marked by ups and downs, mortality hanging in the balance, thousands of supporters joining the journey along the way.

“The good news is I probably am in remission. But I can’t confirm it until I have a bone-marrow biopsy in September,” he said, chatting Friday after a one-hour gym workout.

“I used to think I’m in charge, and can handle anything. I still think I can handle anything but know I can’t guarantee any outcome. You’ve just gotta let go and have faith that a power greater than yourself is in charge. READ THE FULL STORY AT CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.