Behind The ScenesNCAAF

Friends, colleagues Smith and Gilmore share their battles against cancer

Two years ago, ESPN reporter Shelley Smith penned this post for espnW to detail her breast cancer diagnosis.

“I was too scared to even tell my family at first, and I had been too scared to share it publically,” she said, because, “I wasn’t ready; I didn’t have a plan.”

But she made one.

She found doctors, tried to get into a clinical trial and “learned everything I could about what I was facing, from the survival rate to what chemotherapy and radiation would do to my body.”

Armed with information and supported by friends and family members, she said, “Once I had a plan, once I knew I had a real chance at a winnable fight, then, I was ready to try to help someone else.”

Just before this football season, Smith received a call from friend and ESPN colleague, college football analyst Rod Gilmore, who recently announced his diagnosis of multiple myeloma.

While Smith was used to getting such calls and providing advice, she said, “Rod didn’t need advice; he wanted to share his.”

After Gilmore called his 2016 opening weekend college football matchup at Vanderbilt, he flew home to Northern California. He drove straight to his alma mater, Stanford, to see the Cardinal game against Kansas State and to visit Smith, who was covering the game. They conducted the very special interview above.

Editor’s Note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Gilmore will next be on ESPN on Saturday when he calls the PAC-12 matchup of Washington State at Stanford (10:30 p.m. ET) with Mark Jones (play-by-play) and Quint Kessenich (sideline).

ESPN Remote Production and Jon McLeod produced the video.

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