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SC political reporter Meg Kinnard beats breast cancer with grit and grace

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 8:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Meg Kinnard is a fixture at almost any campaign event or big political story in the Palmetto State.

But this past February, at 40-years-old, the Associated Press political reporter faced her most daunting assignment yet, when she received a breast cancer diagnosis.

“This is clearly the most important assignment I’ve been handed in my life,” Kinnard explained in an interview with WIS.

Kinnard is known in political circles in South Carolina for her toughness and tenacity.

Those traits would be put to the ultimate test. Initially, she was told the type of cancer she had was common.

But at the prompting of her husband Geoffrey, Kinnard got a critical second opinion, revealing the hard truth.

“In fact, I didn’t have the most common type of breast cancer. I had one of the rarest types of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer.”

Her approach in fighting aggressive cancer was with equal force.

With her doctors’ permission, Kinnard traveled 1,000 miles from home and her family to Houston and the world-renowned MD Andersen Cancer Center at the University of Texas.

She endured 6 weeks of chemotherapy and incredibly continued to work remotely, at times, reporting the news from a hospital bed.

“Being able to do that, being blessed and fortunate to feel physically good helped me keep my mental acuity as well.”

Work became a reprieve from the physical battle she’d endure: a double mastectomy and the removal of 64 lymph nodes under her arms.

After surgery in August and radiation therapy, she received the welcome news that there was “no evidence” of remaining cancer.

“I don’t think anybody would ever say being treated for cancer is anything but difficult. But to go through all of that and hear at the end, the result was what you wanted…is overwhelming.”

Her long stay in Houston meant being away from her husband Geoffrey and their three kids for several months.

FaceTime calls, and long-distance chats, replaced the comfort of being together, something Kinnard described as a short-term sacrifice, to return home permanently.

Geoffrey also traveled back and forth from South Carolina to Texas for regular visits.

“Nothing really replaces the real deal,” Meg explained. “The primary responsibility as a mother at that point was to get well.”

The journey ahead is filled with cautious optimism and a new perspective.

She has said that she is even thankful for what most people would consider an unfathomable ordeal.

“What cancer has given me is that knowledge of the blessings that I have, and the feeling that now at this stage of my journey…I want to pay that forward.”

Her story is also proof that with hard work and the right treatment, hope and healing are indeed possible.

“I feel like that is part of the reason I’ve been given this challenge is to try to encourage those around me in any way that I can to take that good care of themselves, and also to try to find a way to get them those right answers.”

Meg Kinnard has shared her journey openly and has found support nationwide.

In fact, she just got back from Washington, DC where she was invited to throw the first pitch at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

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