George Alagiah said he felt “happy” for the life he lived, although cancer “will likely get me in the end”.
The 66-year-old BBC news anchor was first diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in April 2014.
In an interview with Craig Oliver for the former Downing Street Director of Communications’ Desperately Seeking Wisdom podcast, Alagiah spoke about living with the disease.
He said, “I don’t think I’ll be able to get rid of this thing. I still have cancer. It grows very slowly.
“My doctor is very good at puffing me up every now and then with a big red bus full of drugs because the whole point of cancer is, it finds a goddamn way and ends up catching you.
“Probably… it will get me in the end. I hope it will take a long time, but I’m very lucky. “
He added that when he was first diagnosed with cancer, it took him a while to understand what he “had to do”.
“I had to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute. If this was the point, would my life have been a failure? ‘
“Indeed, when I look back and look back on my journey … the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great fortune to meet (Frances Robathan) who has been my wife and lover for all these years now, the kids we raised … it didn’t feel like failure. “
Alagiah has had an illustrious career as a journalist.
As a foreign correspondent for the BBC, he reported on the genocide in Rwanda and interviewed Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his role as Africa and development expert.
In June 2020, Alagiah said the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, and lymph nodes and he has since taken a television break.
The time since his diagnosis has allowed Alagiah to reflect on the need to be vulnerable.
When asked what wisdom he would give, he said, “I think it would be to keep asking, ‘What can we do together?’
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Africa and there is one word in South Africa: Ubuntu. It’s the idea that I’m only human when I see the humanity in you.
“There is this collective idea of life that I believe we have lost.”
Desperate for Wisdom with Craig Oliver is available from all major podcast providers.
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