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Colon Cancer Screening Now Copter Reporter's Cause

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver's only airborne traffic reporter was grounded back in May by colon cancer. Now, John Morrissey of KOA NewsRadio is campaigning about the importance of getting a colonoscopy, beginning at age 50.

"I thought I was going to die," Morrissey told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

John Morrissey (credit: CBS)
CBS4's Kathy Walsh interviews John Morrissey (credit: CBS)

For 10 years, Morrissey put off getting a recommended colonoscopy. He actually made appointments four different times, but canceled them all. This year, at age 60, the traffic guy for KOA Jet Copter finally got screened and he got scared.

"After having the colonoscopy, the doctor came in and said, 'You've got cancer,'" said Morrissey. "It was very early. They caught this thing really right at the beginning."

According to Morrissey, his doctor found nine polyps. Three were precancerous and one was malignant. The cancer was Stage 1. Morrissey had the tumor and a foot of his colon removed at Swedish Medical Center. He spent four weeks at home recovering. He says his doctor told him he doesn't need chemotherapy.

"Basically, I'm cancer free. I'm a very grateful, lucky, cancer survivor," said Morrissey.

John Morrissey
John Morrissey (credit: CBS)

These days, he's also a man with a cause.

"Every person I know I walk up to them and go, 'Have you had your colonoscopy?'" Morrissey said wagging his finger. "This is a cancer that could be completely eradicated if we would just get the test."

Now, as Morrissey guides the rush hour drive, he thinks of his own wakeup call and slows down, enjoys the view and appreciates every day.

This Saturday, Morrissey will tell his story at the Colon Cancer Alliance Undy Run/Walk at City Park. For more information go to support.ccalliance.org.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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