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In Sickness And In Health

From time to time, CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman uses the random toss of a dart and a map of the United States to guide him in his quest to prove that "Everybody Has A Story." During August, he's taking a trip down memory lane with some of the many people he has profiled.


After CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman arrives in town and picks a person from the phone book, he says he always tries to guess what they'll look like. Unfortunately, this time, he was a wee bit off when fate led him to Kim Channer.

The man named Kim is a 47-year old construction worker. He lives with his wife, Lynn, and their two bottomless milkshake reservoirs, Kelsey and Kasey.

It's Channer's second marriage; his first one ended 9 years ago. And although most first marriages are hardly worth mentioning, this one has a special place in his heart.

In his basement, he has a trunk where he stores a lot of memories.

"Now I must admit, I haven't been through here in a while," he says pointing at a box.

Hartman says the story of this marriage - with its still unopened wedding presents, and still hard-to-open album of photographs - has to be one of the toughest love stories fate has ever handed him.

As Channer points at a picture of his car's license plate with the inscription LHC, he says, "That stand for Lonely Hearts Club. So when I got married I had to change my plate. 'Cause it wasn't lonely hearts club anymore ... Dumb."

Her name was Sandy.

Kim and Sandy had been dating just a few months when Sandy developed what she thought was chronic acid indigestion, until the surgeon went in and discovered ovarian cancer. It would prove to be the very worst day of her life, but also, the best.

"I told her, 'It's cancer, it's bad, we've got a fight ahead of us.' And she says,'Now what?' And I say, 'Well, let's get married,'" recalls Channer.

And so, in the face of a disease that is 98 percent fatal, they got married.

"The church was packed. Hanging from the rafters," Channer recalls.

The couple scheduled their wedding between chemo treatments.

"They just pushed the chairs in for us and we sat down. Had the ceremony sitting down," he says.

Needless to say, the part in their vows about "In sickness and in health ..." was almost needless.

"Just to hang in there, be there for her when she wakes up from another surgery," Channer says of his commitment to his new bride.

"He wouldn't hardly leave her side," says Elaine Moreland, Sandy's mother.

"Well, I think it speaks a lot for his character. It just was what she needed to hold her up, I think," adds her father Bob.

Sandy Channer died in May of 1993. She was buried on what would have been her first anniversary.

"I honestly think God wanted us together, to work through that together," says Channer.

Today, it's a part of his past that Channer doesn't think about much any more. He's clearly moved on to happier stories.

But the story in the box shows that a marriage can be forever - if only for a year.

And that a Kim can sure as heck be a man.

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