Newsman shares how assignment left impact

October 28, 2009 

Former KGPE (Channel 47.1) news anchor Kevin Walsh has covered thousands of stories working as a reporter in Honolulu, Fresno, Philadelphia and now Boston.

In a new book "The Marrow in Me" (Sports Challenge Network, $19.95), he writes about how a routine assignment in 1996 changed his life.

It started with a golf ball.

Walsh was working in Honolulu, just before coming to Fresno.

He was sent to report the story of Chris Pablo, a man who found a well-worn golf ball at the driving range that had the words "Beat Leukemia" printed on its side. Three weeks earlier, Pablo had been diagnosed with leukemia.

"He looked at it as a godsend that he bent down and looked at the golf ball rather than just kicking it aside," Walsh says.

Pablo's story resulted in hundreds of people registering as potential bone marrow donors. Despite the staggering odds of finding a match -- about 1 in 200 -- one was found for Pablo.

Walsh followed Pablo's story with a report on a 2-year-old girl who needed a transplant.

More than 30,000 people stepped forward to be added to the National Bone Marrow Donor registry. Walsh was one of those people, and four years later, after he had moved to Fresno, he was contacted about being a match for a 16-year-old leukemia patient.

He talks in the book about how these events changed his life and how he hopes the story will change others.

"My goal with this book is to inspire people to do what others have done. That someone will read the book, register and go to transplant. That will be the ultimate payoff," Walsh says.

"It's hard to put into words what that would mean to me. I'd think that I was meant to be the person who had a chance to experience this so I could tell others."

Walsh left KGPE in 2003 to take a job with the Comcast Cable Network in his hometown of Philadelphia. He moved to Boston two months ago to work for Comcast Sports Network: New England.

His book will be released in the East Nov. 9 and will be available through www.themarrow inme.com or amazon.com. Walsh will donate $1 per book to several organizations that deal in pediatric cancer research and bone marrow registries.

On the air

Rick Roddam has been named the new program director for KKBZ (FM 105.1) and KHIT (FM 107.1) replacing Andy Winford.

Roddam unofficially had been handling the programming duties plus co-hosting the morning show on KKBZ since mid-September. He's been at the local radio station since June 2008.

One of his first duties was to take himself off the morning show. "I was doing mornings and programming two stations. I wanted to shoot myself in the head. I was getting to work at 4 in the morning and staying until about 9 at night," Roddam says.

Jennifer Lipp will handle the morning show on her own while Roddam has moved to afternoons. He says he will see how things go for Lipp before making a decision whether to hire another co-host.

Place your bids

The second annual "Holiday Auction" by KVPT (Channel 18.1) will be Nov. 3-23 at kvpt.org/auction. More than 100 items will be auctioned, including travel to destinations on the California coast, Yosemite and Las Vegas, plus entertainment items such as tickets to local shows, concerts, museums and entertainment venues.

You'll have to register online at kvpt.org/auction starting Monday to be able to bid on the items.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at rbentley@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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