Faith Fancher: Her ‘Gift’ Helped Others

Oct 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Television journalist Faith Fancher, who chronicled her struggle with breast cancer for her viewers, succumbed to the disease Oct. 19. Ms. Fancher died in her Oakland, Calif., home, where she was surrounded by family and friends. She was 53.
A veteran reporter for Fox affiliate KTVU-TV in San Jose, Calif., Ms. Fancher was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She disclosed her condition to viewers, and in hopes of educating others she allowed a camera crew to document her treatment.
The result was a three-part series called “Faith’s Story,” which won several awards. With the assistance of other Bay area television personalities, Ms. Fancher established the Friends of Faith Foundation, which has raised about $750,000 to assist low-income women who have breast cancer.
After Ms. Fancher had a lumpectomy and a mastectomy in 1997, she thought she may have beaten the disease. But two years later doctors told her the cancer had returned. Ms. Fancher left the airwaves and underwent a series of surgeries and experimental treatments. Throughout her fight, she continued to engage in public speaking appearances and attend breast cancer fund raisers.
“She was the most fearless and alive person I’ve ever known,” said KTVU General Manager Jeff Block. “She looked at getting cancer as it being her job to help other people. She was bigger than life.”
Born in Franklin, Tenn., Ms. Fancher began working as a reporter in Knoxville in 1972. She was the first African American television reporter in the city and reportedly beat out Oprah Winfrey for the job. Ms. Fancher moved on to reporting positions at National Public Radio and CNN before joining KTVU in 1983.
In 2001 Ms. Fancher told the Oakland Tribune: “I always say cancer is a terrible gift, but a gift nonetheless. It teaches you and lets you know what is important.”
The family requests memorial contributions be sent to Friends of Faith, 6114 LaSalle Ave., Box 324, Oakland, CA 94611.