COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - When we see Rick Henry on air with his award winning sports coverage, he always delivers sharp analysis about the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.
Now our friend and colleague is gearing to win a fight of his own. The surprising news came a little more than four months ago.
“It was March 31st when I received my diagnosis of prostate cancer,” Rick said. “And you know those are the words, you can’t believe that you are hearing.”
As always, his wife Perrene has been right right by his side. Anyone who knows Rick, knows his first concern is always his family.
When Rick thought back on telling them the news, I saw the emotion in his eyes and heard it in his voice.
“The toughest part, Judi, was just telling them,” he said. “Because again, you can’t believe those words are coming out of your mouth, so once I got past that, they said great, OK, lets get the surgery done.”
He does have a family history of prostate cancer. Thankfully, he’s been on point with his doctor appointments and screenings.
“The good thing, it was detected early. It’s not aggressive,” Rick said. “One thing I want to tell other men -- if you’re not seeing a doctor on a regular basis, it’s time to start.”
And ladies, Rick says you have *his* permission to give the stubborn men in your life a little nudge.
“Perrene is always checking on me and making sure I keep my appointments, want to know what they’re talking about -- she’s just really been great,” he said of his wife.
One of the best surgeons in the world will do Rick’s surgery in Orlando.
Rick’s spirit is strong, but waiting has not been easy.
“Because of the pandemic, they weren’t doing certain types of surgeries in the state of Florida,” Rick said. “So here I am ready to go, I want to get it over -- but I have to wait.”
The whole Henry crew is making the trip and will be by his side for his recovery.
Here at WIS, we certainly will miss him on the anchor desk for a bit but will be excited to welcome him back in about six weeks.
“I’ll get back and if we have any football to cover, I’ll be busy doing that,” he said.
In the meantime, he’s getting prayed up.
“Early on with this, I told God, I said -- God, it’s in your hands. I’m confident that you’re going to pull me through,” Rick said. “I find myself praying throughout the day. I also want to thank our pastor, Charles Jackson. He said a special prayer for me the other day that really helped.”
The Henrys are so grateful for your love and prayers, but Perrene hopes you will understand they’ll also need a little space and grace.
“I don’t need people asking a lot of questions right now -- I just need prayers,” she said. “With the family and friends that I have, we have a lot of prayer warriors. I know Rick and my faith is strong and the prayer warriors we have out there are strong, so we’re going to get through this.”
Rick hopes sharing his story will encourage many men to take better care of their health.
“Take care of your health, take care of your family because there’s nothing like the love and support of your family to help you get through tough times. And take nothing for granted,” he said.
As he prepares for surgery, his family is making sure he knows how much he is loved.
“My dad has always done a really good job of taking care of us, so now it is an honor and a privilege to be there and take care of him,” his daughter Apryl said.
His son, Brian, added: “Resiliency is the keyword, just it’s a resilient family. We’re going at it all systems go, full bore ahead. We’ll be back from Orlando with a clean bill of health. We’re going to fight ahead on coming back stronger and better.”
“He has been strong,” his wife added. “He just wanted to let the other men out there know that, going to doctors and being checked, how important that is just to keep your health and know what’s going on with your health.”
His grandson, Deen Debrosse, added: “I just want my Pops to know that he’s the strongest person I know. He’s my role model. He’s just kept the whole family so strong throughout this process and I’m certain he’ll beat this.”
With that kind of faith, love and support -- I promise you, Rick Henry will remain undefeated!