97.1 The Ticket's Jamie Samuelsen reveals he has colon cancer
Sports is all fun and games, until it's not.
Longtime Metro Detroit sports-talk radio personality Jamie Samuelsen revealed on air Monday morning that he has been battling colon cancer for the past 19 months. He revealed his diagnosis after an infection recently forced him to take some days off.
Samuelsen, 48, had been not been on the air recently co-hosting the “Jamie and Stoney Show” with Mike Stone that airs Monday through Friday, four hours a day beginning at 6 a.m., and decided to explain his absence.
“I was diagnosed with cancer January of ‘19, like so many men and women around here. Doesn’t make us unique or different or special, but it is certainly a massive gut punch for where you think your life is headed,” Samuelsen, who has been in and out of the hospital the last few weeks, said on the air Monday. “It throws you for a loop, it makes you reassess everything, it makes you hug your kids a little bit tighter, your family and friends a little bit tighter. It’s a battle, and the battle goes on.
“I don’t want to make this sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”
Samuelsen didn't reveal the severity of his diagnosis, and he wasn't immediately available for comment to The News.
The biggest reason for sharing his diagnosis, he said, is to bring awareness to getting a colonoscopy. Samuelsen said nothing would make him happier than for people to hear that message and follow through.
“I want people of this age, my age, 40s and even younger now, to get a colonoscopy,” he said. “It can literally save your life. It literally can.
“While I’ve never been a big soapbox guy, my soapbox today and for the number of years I’m going to continue to fight this is going to be, get a colonoscopy, please. It’s so easy. You hear these horror stories about it, but it’s not that bad.”
Samuelsen is from Lafayette, Calif., outside of San Francisco and a Northwestern graduate. He is married to Christy McDonald, who has had a long presence on Detroit television news and currently is anchor/reporter on PBS Detroit. They have three children.
Samuelsen emerged on the Detroit sports radio scene at WDFN 1130 in 1994 and the following year became a show host. Samuelsen eventually moved to 97.1 The Ticket where he was a co-host of an evening show with Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski before moving to the mornings with Stone. He has been on air with Stone since 2016. He also is a contributor to the Free Press and Channel 2’s SportsWorks show.
“I’ve been very fortunate we kind of stumbled into this 25 years ago. It’s not a real job. It’s a fake job,” Samuelsen said Monday. “We just get to talk about sports every morning for four hours and have fun with our listeners. The fans and the people and the listeners are what have made it for us.”
He said his wife has kept him focused while dealing with his cancer.
“They always say you’ve got to keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting, and that’s exactly what we intend to do," Samuelsen said. "I’ve been surrounded by an unbelievable group of doctors, which I can’t even begin to thank. I’ve been surrounded by my unbelievable family. My wife is a miracle worker in a lot of ways, because she has taken care of me every step of the way. She’s been my guide every step of the way through this process. I’m a much more, ‘Eh, things will be OK,’ and she’s a much more, ‘No, no, no we need to do this, this and this to be OK,’ and she’s right, and she’s been 100 percent right the entire time, and I’m so appreciative of her.
“I really view where I am right now in my life as a total blessing. I was diagnosed a year and a half ago, and they give you all these time parameters, what could be this, what could be that, and I’m not looking at it that way. I’m just looking at it as, we’re here today, we’re fighting today, and I hope to be back on the radio with you guys on a full-time basis very soon. I’m just totally fatigued right now. It’s hard for me to think about doing a four-hour radio show. That’s why I’m not on.”
Samuelsen said that battling cancer is a “second job.” For others to avoid having to go through this, he again asked that everyone see their doctors.
“It would make me feel great if people were to go out and schedule colonoscopies today, or tomorrow or the next day and just line them up and get them done,” he said. “It will be such a burden off your shoulders to know you’ve done everything you can. It’s not just about you. It’s about your wife, it’s about your family, it’s about your husband. And this is not just a male disease. Colon cancers tend to be attributed to more men than women, but it’s one of the leading causes of death in women, as well. It’s a really scary thing, but it is preventable as long as you catch it quickly.”