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Remembering Dave Benton: Illinois TV Anchor On Cancer And Leading A Normal Life

Dave Benton passed away the morning of May 26.  This interview was conducted in late 2014.

It’s been three months since TV news anchor Dave Benton told viewers that his brain cancer was back, and doctors told him he had months to live.  In the time he has, he says his goal is to live life to the fullest.

“I’ve been fortunate not to have a lot of side effects so far,” he said. “I sleep a lot the week of treatment (on Tuesdays or Wednesdays every other week.)  By that Thursday or Friday, I’m exhausted.  I sleep all weekend long, and I kind of bounce back.  What I appreciate is that I see a lot of people getting treatment when I’m getting my treatment, and some of them are facing challenges I can’t imagine.”

Benton first announced he had a brain tumor in November 2013.  He went through chemotherapy, and had about six normal months.  But cancer returned earlier this year, and he announced during a broadcast with co-anchor Jennifer Roscoe that he may have just months to live.

He said the latest round of treatment appears to have added a few months. Benton said he’s getting lots of support from the community, and served as an inspiration from others who are ill.

“I’ve (heard from) some people that it’s helped them tell their side, and the situation that they’re facing,” he said.  “It has helped them to be more positive and to look forward and be grateful for the good things we have at this moment.”

But he’s chosen to remain at work as long as possible, and live life as normal as possible.  

And there will be a permanent marker of that hard work.  Champaign County Crime Stoppers recently announced it would annually give out the ‘Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award’ for a citizen who exemplifies the crime-fighting spirit.

Benton has been a board member with Crime Stoppers, and hosted a series of special programs on WCIA aimed at solving crimes.

“Having been in television now, it will be 30 years in April, I guess I never thought there could be an award named in my honor,” he said.  “You want to go out and do go things, I know it’s important to be involved in the community, and I wanted to do that and to do it effectively, but it never led to me thinking, ‘gee, I should get an award, or there should be an award in my name.  So when they presented me with this idea, I literally was quite shocked that was even possible.   Why me?  There are a lot of people that do great things in this community, and they deserve a pat on the back.”

And Benton said the latest round of treatment appears to have added a few months.