Wendy Chioji, a former Florida news presenter, died on Monday at the age of 57 after an 18-year battle with cancer.
Chioji initially revealed her condition on air at WESH-Channel 2 in Central Florida in 2001.
Her declaration ‘dispelled dread in other women’ and’removed some stigma,’ according to her.
She performed incredible things during her 18-year struggle with illness, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, competing Ironman triathlons, and overcoming cancer twice.
Since her death, she has been remembered by family, friends, and coworkers.
Wendy Chioji, a former Central Florida news reporter who inspired viewers with her bold and open attitude to cancer treatment, died Monday night at the age of 57.
Chioji originally revealed she had Stage II breast cancer on a WESH-Channel 2 newscast in 2001.
Her candor in sharing her diagnosis established her reputation as a fearless, powerful, and compassionate leader.
Alan Chiogioji, her brother, sent a message on Facebook confirming his sister’s death.
Wendy Chioji, my beautiful, powerful, feisty, badass sister, lost her battle with cancer today,’ he added. She lived every day to the fullest, from climbing mountains to competing in triathlons to touring the world.’
‘She never allowed her illness keep her from accomplishing what she wanted to do. She is my hero, and I already miss her.’
Wendy worked at WESH-Channel 2 for 20 years until departing in 2008 to go to Park City, Utah.
While in Utah, she continued to tell her story in special TV appearances and the ‘Growing Boulder’ series.
Wendy was unquestionably exceptional, according to Marc Middleton, founder of ‘Growing Bolder’ and a former WESH colleague.
‘Wendy Chioji was one of a kind,’ he added. Our legacy, they say, is simply the stories people tell about us after we’re gone. For the rest of our lives, we’ll be sharing beautiful, uplifting, motivating, and hilarious stories about Wendy.’
Wendy enjoyed life to the fullest, never allowing her sickness to hold her back from achieving her goals.
‘Over the last five years she lived life to the fullest, never letting disease, the dread of death, or self-imposed constraints stop her,’ Wendy’s ex husband, Mark NeJame, said.
‘She drank in everything life had to give. She was a woman who lived life on her own terms. ‘I’ve always done it.’
Wendy hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, summited Mount Fuji, and completed Ironman triathlons before her death.
Throughout all of these incredible achievements, she has beaten cancer twice.
In her blog, Live Fearlessly, she recorded the ups and downs of her life.
Wendy used her experiences to encourage others, according to Andrea Batchelor, a former coworker and friend.
‘She stated she didn’t want to be the cancer poster girl, but she understood how she could inspire people and accepted the job,’ Bathelor added.
‘She was always on the attack, and I’ve never seen somebody investigate cancer as thoroughly as she did, seeking for clinical studies.’
She was a determined woman. Pity was one of the things that bothered her. She didn’t want you to feel sorry for her.’
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Wendy added, “I knew people would conjecture and speculate if they didn’t have knowledge, so I offered it to them.”
‘It calmed other women’s fears, removed some stigma, and started a cancer discourse.’ I’ve always believed that knowledge is the best treatment for fear, and I’ve seen it work time and time again.’
News anchors from around the world have gone to social media to express their feelings.
‘One of the all-time greats,’ remarked Fox 35 anchor Bob Frier. She is dedicated to both her craft and her community. I consider myself fortunate to have known her as a coworker and a friend.’
‘An indomitable spirit…facing her illness with courage and grace…living her final years with pleasure rather than resentment.’ Wendy, rest in peace.’
‘Wendy inspired so many others by actually living boldly during her cancer struggles,’ stated Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
‘She will be missed,’ says the narrator.
‘Sad to hear the news of the demise of a brilliant journalist and news anchor, Wendy Chioji,’ stated Florida Congresswoman Val Demings.
‘Wendy made you feel like she was a member of the family at all times. After a lengthy fight, may she rest in peace. ‘Thank you for a life well lived,’ we say.
Chioji motivated people to live honestly by being herself.
Both WFTV-Channel 9’s Vanessa Echols and Jessica Sanchez, previously of WKMG-Channel 6, disclosed their breast cancer diagnoses on air.
Chioji contacted Echols in 2008 after learning of her condition, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
‘As soon as she heard, she phoned me.’ That is something I will never forget. ‘It says a lot about who she is,’ Echols said.
Chioji said her doctor recommended she join in hospice care in August of this year.
‘I’m not frightened to die, but not now,’ she added. I am not prepared. I haven’t completed battling with all of my weapons, and I have far too many things to do and places to see.’
‘Even so, it took me a solid twenty minutes to gather my s—- and say, ‘No hospice.’ That’s not something I’m prepared for.’
She celebrated five years of ‘borrowed time’ in her last piece on Live Fearlessly.
‘This Labor Day, I am thankful I have lived well on borrowed time for five years,’ she remarked. I’m hoping to get five additional loans. ‘Defy the odds and #livefearlessly.’