Radio Facts: Omega Jones, a former longtime radio announcer in the Fayetteville Metro market, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed on March 1,” she said. “Yep, March came in like a lion.” But don’t feel sorry for this woman.
Jones won’t have it. “I am enjoying life. I feel good,” she said last week. “I’m getting the best health care you can possibly get as to my cancer. I’m blessed to have insurance.” Jones, who has undergone surgery and is preparing for radiation treatments and hormone replacement therapy, is looking to make a difference.
She has focused her energy on getting the word out to women about early detection of breast cancer. In other words, Omega is still using that engaging radio voice of hers to encourage others to get screened early.
“I want to make sure women start taking care of themselves,” she said. “We always take care of everybody else before we take care of ourselves. If we’re not at 100 percent, how are we going to be at 100 percent for our families? My thing is – get a mammogram.”
Jones’ newfound mission at age 47 has her in Raeford today from 3 to 7 p.m. for the Cape Fear Valley Health Systems’ Take a Loved One to the Doctor Health Fair. The event is being held at the National Guard Armory at 305 Teal St. She will be talking about the importance of early detection.
As for Jones, her cancer was caught early, in Stage 1. Though she never felt any lumps, Jones said she had noticed some “funny feelings.” She went to her doctor and got a mammogram. And as she put it, “Everything else pretty much fell into place.”
No chemotherapy is planned, but she is scheduled to begin a five-week regimen of radiation in a couple of weeks. Because the cancer was discovered so early, doctors have given her an 85 percent success rate. “I have a phenomenal success rate,” she said. Resources are available for women in need to get free mammograms. She names the Sherri Arnold Graham Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the incidence and number of deaths from breast cancer.
For more information, go online to lighthousesignals.org. Local radio listeners may recall that Jones was laid off as a midday announcer on the Beasley Broadcast Group’s WUKS in February 2009. Budget cuts, she said at the time, were given as the reason. Jones, who has spent three decades in radio, started in the Fayetteville market in 1990. She worked at WIDU, WZFX, WQSM, WFLB and WUKS. During the past 13 months, her life has turned from the airwaves to preventative X-rays.
“You’re not supposed to leave this world with all your kids and grand kids around,” she said. “That’s why I’ve pretty much made this my calling.”
WRAL news was honored March 27 with 10 awards in the N.C. Associated Press division one television category, including Outstand ing News Operation for 2009. That’s the second time in three years the Raleigh CBS Radio Station has taken home the benchmark award. “We’re very honored and privileged to have the commitment from the top of the company on down to news gathering,” said Radio Station news director Rick Gall. “We hope that shows every day.”
WRAL-TV, Channel 5, competed against Radio Station s in the four major television markets across the state: Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, Charlotte, Asheville and Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem. Overall, WRAL-TV won seven first-place awards and three honorable mentions. [source]