Anchorwoman’s Cancer Diagnosis Turns Story Spotlight on Her

Melissa Knowles
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Mary Nickles is the morning anchor at KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a trusted part of the Salt Lake community and decided to cover a story that was dear to her heart, breast cancer. In October, instead of using statistics alone, Nickles decided to involve herself in the story. Nickles took viewers through the process of having a mammogram to screen for the early stages of cancer. Her intention was to show viewers how important early screenings are and to urge women to make time for the preventive care. However, Nickles never expected to be diagnosed with cancer herself.

When the results of her mammogram came in, her oncologist revealed that a dense mass in one of her breasts contained a malignant tumor. Nickles announced the diagnosis in a follow-up story on live TV. She also shared the news on her Facebook page, telling fans that she would be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation next month. After her announcement, fans showered her with an outpouring of support, prayers, and encouragement. Ultimately, Nickles achieved her goal. After her diagnosis, and announcement on her blog, her oncologist has seen a sharp spike in the number of scheduled mammograms.

Nickles is not the only popular community personality to receive an unexpected diagnosis and reveal it in a live forum. In early December, Xeni Jardin, founding partner and co-editor of Boing Boing, went for her first-ever mammogram and decided to live tweet the event. Jardin's more than 49,000 followers were with her as she got her results, too. Although they were not physically in the room with her when she was diagnosed with cancer, just like Nickles's fans, they offered their words of encouragement and support. Jardin has continued to document her treatment journey on Twitter, sharing pictures and tweets about her battle against the disease.


Moving on to our next story, when it comes to sharing a journey with fans, one of the most popular sports figures on the planet who's sharing his journey is Tim Tebow.

Tebow has quickly become a phenomenon in the NFL -- on the field and in the cyberworld. Sunday, after the Denver Broncos quarterback's thrilling 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime helped defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, Twitter went wild over Tebow. How wild? Tebow set a new sports record for being the most talked about person on Twitter in the U.S. Tweets came in at a rate of 9,420 per second. This shattered the previous U.S. record of 8,800 tweets per second when Beyonce announced her pregnancy during MTV's Video Music Awards. But Tebow's overtime magic does not hold a candle to the most tweeted moment ever. That is when the Japanese anime "Castle in the Sky" aired on Japanese television. That event had people tweeting more than 25,000 times per second. One person tweeted about Tebow and the uncanny coincidence of the number 316, tweeting "Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass." Next week, Tebow and his Broncos take on the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional playoffs. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a force on the field himself, especially in difficult situations. Plus, the last time these two teams competed against each other, the Patriots emerged victorious, defeating the Broncos 41-23. We'll just have to wait and see if Tebow's heroics will rise again, and how much everyone will be talking about it.