Community rallies around local radio DJ battling cancer

Medford, Ore. — A man who has spent decades giving back to his community, is receiving some support of his own. Larry Neal has been the voice of the afternoon drive on KRWQ since the station first went on the air in 1980. This February he was hospitalized, and diagnosed with a rare form of neurological cancer. On Friday, the community is coming together to let him know he’s not alone in his fight.

“Played the first record which was, Rose garden by Lynn Anderson,” Neal recounts, “it was just a statement to let everybody know we were a country radio station and been there ever since.”

Larry Neal will never forget the first time he signed on at KRWQ. It was a Saturday in August of 1980. 37 years later and each day is as good as the last.

“It’s what I love to do,” Neal says.

But Larry’s been off the airwaves for the last few months, after some numbness in his legs sent him to the doctor for an MRI.

“Around the first of the year I had an MRI, and they discovered a tumor on my spine,” Neal says.

Surgery soon followed, and the diagnosis was cancer. A rare form called glioblastoma. He calls the diagnosis, ironic, considering one of the biggest campaign’s he was a part of centered around raising money for kids battling rare cancers like the one he is now. It’s their stories, that keep him strong.

“If they can do it,” Neal says, “I can do it.”

But Larry won’t be fighting this battle alone. When his coworkers past and present learned of the diagnosis, they jumped into action.

“It’s been hard for all of us to deal with that,” Neal’s former morning show partner Brian Bishop says, “and I think that’s why so many people wanted to do something.”

This weekend they’ll host a nights-long event to raise money to support Larry and his family.

“We knew what hospital stays cost and even though he was insured we know there are deductibles and other expenses,” Bishop says, “and so we really wanted to make sure that his family and him are taken care of.”

Support that Larry says he is both overwhelmed and encouraged by to keep fighting.

“I think I can beat the odds, I really do,” Neal says.

Larry just finished his  final radiation treatment last week, the next step could be chemo. If you’re interested in learning more about this Friday’s Love for Larry Event, or would like to donate click HERE.

Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News at 6 with NBC5 News Director Craig Smullin. Kristin is originally from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She comes to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine.

When Kristin is not sharing the news she’s hunting down the best burrito, hiking a local trail or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder! If you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you how a California girl became a Cheesehead.

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