Ben Terry has spent the last decade delivering the weather forecast to southwest Louisiana for NBC affiliate KPLC, and he's not letting treatment for colon cancer stop him from that mission.
Terry has continued to deliver his regular updates for the affiliate in Lake Charles, even though it means broadcasting from a Houston hotel room near the hospital where he is undergoing radiation treatment from Monday through Friday every week.
"I would say it would have been a lot easier to give up if I didn't have the support of my viewers, and I know that all of these people are rooting for me to get better," Davis told Morgan Chesky on TODAY Monday.
The Mississippi native learned a day before Thanksgiving last year that he has colon cancer, which came just three months after his home was destroyed by Hurricane Laura. That devastating 1-2 punch of destruction and illness would make many people take some time off work to recover, but Terry is not built that way.
"It really would be (difficult) for me, because I'm not somebody that gives up," he said.
Terry has endured five months of chemotherapy treatments and now is in the midst of 28 total radiation treatments expected to be completed before the end of this month.
"When you're told you have cancer, you know it's a life-changing thing," he said. "I made the announcement on Facebook. I would say within minutes I started getting like hundreds of comments on my Facebook posts. It was just overwhelming."
His viewers have rallied in support, with one even setting up an online fundraising page and selling T-shirts to help him pay for his treatment.
Terry also wants to use his platform on KPLC to urge people to not put off their regular checkups over concerns about COVID-19 or other reasons. He had to postpone his own because of a pair of obstacles outside his control, yet thankfully learned of his cancer diagnosis in time to still get a positive prognosis from his doctors.
The combination of damage to his gastroenterologist's office from Hurricane Laura and COVID-19 restrictions delayed Terry's routine colonoscopy for months until nearly Thanksgiving, when he learned he had a tumor. Terry said in an interview on KPLC last week that he has had ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, for 15 years, necessitating regular colonoscopies.
"I've got to use this opportunity now to get on and tell people, don't put off screenings," he told Chesky.
Terry shared earlier this month that his tumor has shrunk in size by 15% to 20% from his treatments. The goal is for it to continue to shrink so that it can be surgically removed.
This is the second storm Terry has weathered while continuing to do his job. He was delivering weather reports around the clock in August 2020 despite the Category 4 Hurricane Laura destroying his home and damaging the KPLC building.
"I don't want people to feel sorry for me in the sense that I lost my home — so did a lot of other people in Lake Charles, and so I had an obligation to continue doing my job," he said.
Now as he faces a fight for his life, he has realized that the hurdle is as much mental as physical. He said on KPLC that the anxiety after receiving the diagnosis "can be crushing" and that he "just about had a breakdown" in the doctor's office after being told about it.
Throughout it all, he has realized the importance of a positive mindset.
"If you make up your mind that you're not gonna let this medicine pull you down and give that feeling that you're defeated, because it can do that, it can make you feel really like you've been defeated, like you can just give up, but you have to power through that and know that this is just part of the journey," he said on KPLC.