Portraits of Courage

Faith Fancher

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Enduring Faith

IN JOURNALISM, Faith Fancher defied the stereotypes about reporters being hard-shelled and self-serving. She greeted the world with smiles, hugs, and a tenacious kindness that belied her will to fight.

An uncommon television reporter, Fancher possessed a rare blend of talent, courage and compassion. And she used them for nearly 20 years at KTVU-TV to air difficult stories in a way expressly designed to help somebody, right an injustice, or wipe away some pain.

It was with that spirit that she took us with her on her campaign against breast cancer. Diagnosed with the disease in 1997, Fancher told her story live on camera, documenting an arduous journey of treatments and setbacks. She did it to move women to get early exams and to highlight the uneven access to cancer treatments and therapies for women of color. "When it first happened, I felt uncomfortable with the publicity of it," said Barbara Rodgers, a friend and KPIX-TV reporter. "But it was her way of using her high profile to help others. She was very special in that regard."

Through her "Friends of Faith," Fancher raised some $500,000 as an ambassador for women who could not afford the kind of care she received.

Fancher, 53, who died Sunday, cared a lot and gave a lot. She was smart and beautiful, and in the end, knew her life stood for something.