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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Voice of the Shockers Mike Kennedy reveals cancer diagnosis, receives ‘heartwarming’ support

Kristy Mace
Mike Kennedy smiles as he sits at the press bench on Feb. 21.

After not missing a game since 1980, Mike Kennedy, the “Voice of the Shockers,” released a statement earlier this month, saying he would miss two men’s basketball games. In the statement, Kennedy revealed that he is in treatment for prostate cancer. 

A Wichita State graduate, Kennedy has been the radio broadcaster on 103.7 KEYN and missed the games against East Carolina and Charlotte.

Kennedy said he has always felt healthy and nonchalant about his health, but a routine appointment would change his perspective. 

Kennedy said during his appointment, his doctor did some blood work that showed a high level of a prostate-specific antigen, which was the tipoff. He then saw a urologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the urinary system. 

“I was pretty well prepared for it when I actually got the specific diagnosis,” Kennedy said. “You could kind of tell that (the doctor) knew even before they did the biopsy.”

The urologist told Kennedy that the cancer is isolated in a small area. Although it is a severe level of cancer, it is very treatable and attackable. 

When he received his official diagnosis, Kennedy said he wanted to keep it private, but after receiving his treatment schedule, he knew he was going to miss some games. 

He talked it over with his wife, Debbie, and after not missing a game in 44 years, he knew there would be some questions. 

“So why not just get it out there and maybe try to use it as an opportunity to urge other men to get tested and make it a positive thing,” Kennedy said. 

According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. 

Kennedy told The Sunflower that, despite his diagnosis, he feels fine.

“I haven’t had any side effects from the treatment or anything, and so I really don’t feel anything less than normal,” Kennedy said. 

Men’s basketball head coach Paul Mills said that he knew about Kennedy’s diagnosis for some time; they usually had dinner the night before a game. Mills said that Kennedy could give a perspective on games that nobody else could.

“He is an encyclopedia of Shocker basketball, and the fact that he’s called it for 44 years — he’s seen it all,” Mills said. 

Kennedy said after his announcement, he was overwhelmed by the amount of support he received from former coaches and players.

“It was unbelievable; it was just very humbling and very heartwarming,” Kennedy said. “So from kind of a weird standpoint, this experience has led to that, which has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

Currently, Kennedy has no plans of slowing down,  but he said he could see himself stepping down when his wife retires. 

“I think it was probably a little bit of a wake-up for me,” Kennedy said. “I don’t have any immediate plans to think about retiring, but it’s just more realistic than it would have been a few years ago.”  

He said he hopes his experience inspires others to reach out to those who have suffered a loss or are going through a tough medical situation. 

“It has been absolutely amazing to find out what just a few kind words can mean,” Kennedy said.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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