CORONAVIRUS: STRONGER TOGETHER

Radio Host Rebecca Cressman In Remission After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Apr 23, 2020, 9:13 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2020, 6:57 pm

SPANISH FORK, Utah — During times of uncertainty, there are still ways to celebrate big milestones. This can be especially true for people facing medical challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic like 100.3 FM radio host Rebecca Cressman.

She has a voice you know and love.

“FM 100.3 Better Music for a Better Workday,” said Rebecca Cressman, after playing Dean Lewis’s hit titled “Be Alright.”

“It will be alright, and you just have to sing that in your head over and over because it absolutely will. It’s Rebecca!” she added.

It’s a message on-air radio host Rebecca Cressman lives by.

Cressman has DJ’d FM 100.3, KSL TV’s sister radio station, for 14 years now.

She said she gets emotional thinking about her work.

“I think of being on the radio as having instant connection and friendship with whoever’s on the other side of the radio,” she said.

Her listeners become immediate friends.

“Having listeners call you and tell you about what’s happening in their life — it just means my circle of people I care about is, well, it’s really big!” she said with a laugh.

People across the state tune-in to feed off Rebecca’s positivity during her five hour on-air shift from 10 AM to 3 PM.

She said she often asks herself, “What could I do to brighten their day? What could I do to help make their life a little bit more simple? What can I do just to make them smile?”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebecca has been broadcasting from home. With the help of her husband, they turned one of their bedrooms into a remote radio studio.

”We built a studio out of moving blankets and PVC pipes,” she said.

It’s important for her to practice social distancing since she is at especially high-risk, after her life took a sudden turn in May 2019.

“There’s no doubt that when I started 2019, I had no idea that my life was going to take this abrupt turn,” she said.

Rebecca went in for her yearly mammogram.

She’s always been faithful about getting screened, and even started early, since her own mother passed away from breast cancer.

After reading the results she thought, “This isn’t like the other ones where I’ve been called back before. This looks like there’s a mass that they found.”

Within 24 hours, Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was at work in the studio, and I got the call from my doctor saying it is invasive ductal carcinoma,” she said.

 

Rebecca Cressman with family and friends wearing ‘Team Rebecca” t-shirts. Rebecca Cressman posing during a round of chemotherapy. FM 100.3 rallied behind Rebecca Cressman’s story and encouraged her to share her message with listeners. Rebecca Cressman uses her FM 100.3 platform to advocate for breast cancer awareness and encourage other women to get their yearly mammogram. Rebecca Cressman has hosted FM 100.3 for more than 14 years now. Rebecca Cressman and her husband built a remote radio studio in their home so she can broadcast at home. Rebecca Cressman poses with her husband of 32 years, Dale, after finishing her last chemo treatment. Rebecca Cressman continued to work even during treatment for breast cancer. Rebecca and Dale Cressman are parents to three sons. Rebecca Cressman and her dear friend, Kristin Silva, run and walk five miles every morning as part of Rebecca’s recovery.

 

Her husband of 32 years, Dale Cressman, had a hard time at first even describing his devastation.

“For the first couple months, I couldn’t even talk about it. My throat would get tight,” he said. “Just sheer terror.”

Rebecca had a partial mastectomy, and then started chemotherapy and radiation. She admitted, it wasn’t easy.

“Chemo was really hard,” she said.

As a former marathon racer, Rebecca said it was humbling.

“I remember beginning to cry because all I needed to do is run one lap around the block, and it was more than my body could do,” she said in tears.

Dale said it was difficult to watch his wife, who is normally so full of life, endure such extreme physical pain.

“Getting up out of bed in the morning, everything hurts,” he said. “It saps your strength.”

Despite losing her hair, strength and energy, Rebecca was determined to make the most of it.

Her husband said she was always optimistic.

“I didn’t want cancer to define my life. I wanted to be able to still live,” she said.

Rebecca continued to work her regular radio shift, even during treatment.

In true Rebecca fashion, she also found ways to serve others.

“I remember her taking soup to another cancer patient who was a listener who had connected with her,” Dale said. “That’s just who she is.”

She found renewed purpose at work as she started sharing her story on the air. Her close friend of twenty years, Kristin Silva, made ‘Team Rebecca’ t-shirts and the station also made ‘Team Rebecca’ bracelets and cups and rallied behind her.

Rebecca’s been a long-time advocate of breast cancer awareness, but this time, the campaign brought new meaning.

“Women have been reaching out to me — dozens — and saying, ‘Because I heard about your story on the air, I got my mammogram, I’m being treated at Huntsman,’” she said.

She’s even bumped into listeners who were also getting breast cancer treatment at the same time.

She said even though she was in a gown and bawled, people would recognize her.

“We’d hug and she’d say, ‘We’re going to be okay, and I’d say ‘We’re going to be okay,’” she remembered.

She has used her radio platform to urge her largely-female audience to get their yearly mammogram.

Rebecca said she feels it’s her responsibility to give listeners information that will better their lives.

“It caused this surge of women to finally take care of their health and call and make their appointments,” she said.

Today, Rebecca’s condition is finally in remission!

She and Kristin run and walk five miles every morning.

“It’s pretty healing to be out on the trail,” Rebecca said.

She said being out in nature when everything is coming back to life again — like the birds and trees — is tranquil, and symbolic of her own recovery.

Kristin said Rebecca truly is as positive in real life as she is on air.

“From the first day and the first phone call I got [until] her diagnosis today, I’ve never left a conversation with her without having more hope,” Kristin said.

Rebecca described it perfectly: “To have hope again is to pause and see everything around you that really is beautiful. We just have to notice it.”

Although it hasn’t always been an easy journey, Rebecca has continued to make an effort every day to be grateful.

“Life never gives us a promise of perfection and an easy road ahead of us, but it does give us a chance to enjoy every day that we have,” Rebecca said. “It’s just really been a part of who I am to celebrate this day.”


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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Radio Host Rebecca Cressman In Remission After Breast Cancer Diagnosis