The Fight Against Cancer Never Rests. Northwestern’s Rebecca Blank and WXRT’s Lin Brehmer Have Revealed Their Battles.

The Fight Against Cancer Never Rests. Northwestern’s Rebecca Blank and WXRT’s Lin Brehmer Have Revealed Their Battles.

Rebecca Blank and Lin Brehmer (Photos courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

Two days this week, two announcements that saddened me, one of which really shook me.

A 1975 Northwestern graduate, I wear the purple proudly. A family trip to Ryan Field for a football game is an annual event. So I was disheartened to read the email this week that Rebecca Blank, the incoming university president-elect at NU has stepped away from her role to face a battle with aggressive cancer. I wish her the best and trust that my alma mater will again find a top-notch academic to fill the role of university president.

The other notification has struck me more deeply. I missed the Tweet yesterday, spending a lovely afternoon on Lake Michigan, but this morning, the first news story I read was about WXRT radio guy Lin Brehmer. He too is stepping away for a while, taking a sabbatical from his role as the midday jock on my favorite radio station to begin chemotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer.

While I must concede that Rebecca Blank is just a name to me, Lin Brehmer has been a daily voice in my life for years. I would time my morning commute to be sure I was in the lab for “Three for Free,” the on-air trivia game orchestrated by Lin and Mary Dixon. A double-digit number of wins soothed my ego still bruised over long ago losses on Jeopardy! and It’s Academic.

And thanks to social media I am one of the thousands of listeners who have a bit of a relationship with Lin. He and I have Twitter bantered over Janet Jackson’s nomination to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, over an awful Guster song, and most recently over my allegation that the station program director required one Cure song per shift. “Just don’t play Friday I’m In Love on Fridays…”

As a pathologist specializing in the diagnosis of urologic diseases, I see about 5 cases of prostate cancer a day. While many, perhaps most, of those men do well, I still feel a sense of loss for each of those husbands, sons, and brothers whose prostate biopsy is under my microscope. I know their lives have changed. So it is for Lin. (No, he is not a patient of mine and I was not aware of his diagnosis or the previous treatment that he has revealed in his Tweet.)

Lin is always everyone’s best friend in the whole world. I know the wishes from all of those admirers are bringing him strength and leading to a successful outcome. I can’t wait to hear his voice on “XRT once more.

And just a final reminder to all of you. Men, ask your primary care physician to check your PSA level. Ladies, remind the men in your life. Just do it.


The above is the opinion of the author and not UroPartners LLC.

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Hi! I am Les, a practicing pathologist living in the North Suburbs and commuting every day to the Western ones. I have lived my entire life in the Chicago area, and have a pretty good feel for the place, its attractions, culture, restaurants, and teams. My wife and I are empty-nesters with two adult children and four grandchildren.

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