ESPN reporter Shelley Smith will be coming back to office on April 30 following a six-month time off to undergo cancer treatment, reported Sports Illustrated. The 56-year-old ESPN veteran said last October that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Over the past months, Smith filed a leave of absence from ESPN to endure several radiation treatments. The last cycle was finished last week. On Monday, she left for the gym for the first time in weeks, where she skipped rope and practiced some minor weight lifting exercises.
After her service at Sports Illustrated, Smith joined ESPN in 1993 before being employed full time in 1997.
Even though Smith lost her hair as a consequence of the radiation treatment, she sees her new look as a token of her own strength and support for raising cancer awareness in the world.
Smith recognized her 29-year-old daughter, Dylann Tharp, as a major source of strength during her cancer treatment. Tharp is a producer at the NFL Network and, together with her mother, will be working on an ESPN Film 30 for 30 on the 2006 BCS National Championship Game between USC and Texas. As Smith moves forward, she will remain a reporter covering Los Angeles-based news items and probably college football as part-time work.
The sports journalist also credited her co-workers and managers at ESPN for their heartfelt support all the way through her treatment. ESPN college basketball newsman Andy Katz sprinted with Smith's name on his arm and bib on Monday during the Boston Marathon.
Smith was discreet to tag ESPN people who have stepped up for her since she didn't want to forget anybody, although she did highlight David Brofsky, Elida Witthoeft, Gerry Matalon, and Tim McHugh, all senior coordinating producers; Claire Smith, her news editor; and Rob King, senior vice president of SportsCenter and news.
On April 30, Smith will be in Hawaii shooting a pre-NFL draft feature on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. She is also scheduled to interview Mariota after he is picked.
After that assignment, Smith will go back for five more rounds of radiation, starting May 11. She mentioned she is "basically cancer-free" and that the next stage of her radiation treatment is to exterminate any microscopic fibers that might have gone unnoticed.
Smith added that her doctors have communicated to her that she has a very good chance for a healthy and long life based on her age. She is still scheduled to get MRI scans and regular check-ups after radiation.