Johnny O of KOOL 105.5 is a voice we’ve known for 26 years.
He’s always been known for helping others, having started programs like Christmas Kids and Stuff the Bus.
Now he is getting a little help himself for the biggest fight of his life.
He went for a colonoscopy in January, and the doctor found cancer.
Since then, this determined broadcaster has quietly gone through chemo and radiation, all while staying on the air and not saying a word about it.
“I’d lay my head down but then I’d get back up and say ‘Classic hits KOOL 105.5, it’s me, Johnny O!’ You’ve got to put a smile on people’s faces as they’re going to work. It’s all about that, you know?”
He says his motto has always been: never let them see you sweat.
“Never missed a day’s work,” he noted. “I missed a couple of mornings for doctor’s appointments. But people don’t want to hear about your problems. They want to be entertained, and that’s what I do for a living.”
But when a friend stopped in recently, he noticed an IV chemo bag connected to a port under Johnny’s shirt.
Word got out, so Johnny O decided to tell his listeners.
“And I said I have rectal cancer,” he recalled. “I didn’t really want to say ‘rectal’ on the radio, but I wanted people to know what kind of cancer I have.”
He said he had no symptoms, so the diagnosis came as a shock.
“It kind of takes you down a level or two, once you get diagnosed with that,” he said. “You sit there and you think, wow, someday I might not be here. This might take me out.”
But friends and listeners jumped in with caring and support.
“With prayers and stuff,” he said with a smile. “People have been fantastic. My listeners have been calling.”
He has always been all about helping others, and still is.
Now he’s doing it by advocating regular check-ups.
“If you’ve never had a colonoscopy, please go do it,” he said. “It could save your life.”
Miklas’ Meat Market is holding a pepperoni roll sale Wednesday, with all proceeds going to Johnny.
Quaker Steak & Lube is also having a fundraiser for him July 14, from noon to 6 p.m.
It will all go to help him pay his co-pay.
Right now, he’s on a scheduled break from his chemo, and he says he feels good.