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Published: Monday, 7/14/2003

Anchor in tough battle with cancer

When his hair started falling out in clumps, Ryan Serber admits he had “a couple of cries.”

“I thought I was ugly -- you know, a deformity,” he said.

Dealing with the effects of chemotherapy was just one of the reality checks the WUPW-TV, Channel 36, news anchor will face on the road to becoming a cancer survivor. He had a lime-sized brain tumor removed Feb. 28.

Serber: One day at a time Serber: One day at a time
ZAPOTOSKY / BLADE Enlarge

Serber, 35, knows his toughest days are ahead.

“I'm definitely not looking forward to the middle of September,” he said.

That's when he'll receive his final chemotherapy treatment -- the most intense of the four, by far -- as well as a bone-marrow transplant that will require him to stay in a Detroit hospital for up to a month.

This week, he is expected to begin a series of 30 radiation treatments at Flower Hospital in Sylvania -- five times a week for the next six weeks.

He is well aware that the survival rate for someone with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor ranges from 45 to 65 percent. He said he hasn't asked his doctors how he's faring so far.

“I hate to sound so clich -ish, but I'm taking it one day at a time,” he said. “Right now, I feel surprisingly great.”

Serber has grown to accept his bald head. “It's really kind of a conversation piece,” he joked. (People have told him he looks like Bruce Willis, Andre Agassi, and Matt Lauer.)

If he returns to work in November (as he hopes) or January (the target date suggested by his doctors), it's likely his hair won't be fully grown in until February.

MYSTERY WOMAN: On WVKS-FM (92.5), local Clear Channel operations manager Bill Michaels recently told listeners that Deborah De La Rosa was “our winner” of a Hummer. Then, in walking up to the line of deception, he insinuated that listeners might see her driving it around Toledo. Given that it was a Clear Channel national contest, it's safe to assume De La Rosa did not win the Hummer by listening to WVKS. So where does she live? A Clear Channel employee at the corporate office in Covington, Ky., would only say that she is “a U.S. citizen.” Michaels refused comment. WVKS could have played it straight with listeners, but it didn't.

NEW JOB: Former WTOL-TV, Channel 11, news anchor Bill Hormann has landed a job with clothing retailer Damschroder's. He's involved in the marketing of officially licensed collegiate blazers to alumni groups, athletic directors, and fans. Damschroder's owns the national distribution rights to both University of Michigan and Ohio State University blazers, Hormann said.

SMALL WORLD: On Tuesday, WTOL news anchor Terry Thill hosted the morning show on WSPD-AM (1370). One of the guests he interviewed was former WTOL investigative reporter Darrel Richter, who earlier this year launched the consumer-oriented Web site toledobuzz.com.



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