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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Randy Ollis stands at the green screen in the WISH-TV studio. Like every morning, he’s taking viewers through his weather forecast. 

Hoosiers have relied on Randy and his predictions for almost four decades. In April 2017, a storm ripped through that he never saw coming. Randy was diagnosed with large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or DLCBL, can be “localized” to one spot or “generalized” and spread to areas throughout the body. Randy’s was localized to the lymph nodes in his neck.

DLCBL is one of the most aggressive and fastest spreading cancers. If Randy did nothing, he was told he’d be gone in a year. With chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer is highly treatable. Randy remembers the day he was sitting in the exam room. His doctor turned to him and said, “You worry about the weather. I’ll worry about your health.” 

Despite those reassuring words, Randy said it was the most difficult day of his life. 

“I remember we walked out of his office to the parking lot,” Randy said. “My wife and I, the tears were flowing because we didn’t know what the future held. We thought I may be gone in the next year. The emotions when he said ‘you have cancer’? Everything turns on a dime. All the things that you thought that mattered now. Sports or bank accounts or whatever it is, Facebook. It doesn’t matter anymore. You have cancer.” 

Nobody wants to hear those three words, but Randy is a man of faith, and he put his faith in God.

“I always say that God is in control of people’s lives and that’s what got me through. I had people praying for me all over the state and my faith and family really got me through it,” Randy said.

There was also someone else who got Randy through it: legendary News 8 anchor and friend for over three decades, Dave Barras. 

“Everytime I went through a chemo treatment, he’d stop by and see me at the hospital. Every time. He’s like a brother to me,” Randy said.

By sharing his story, Randy hopes it will help others. 

“It gives me a chance to show people we’re just like them too. We all go through our trials in life. It also gives me a chance to share my faith and that’s really how I made it through. I always say that. Faith, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s real in my life. He gave me the strength, endurance, and the courage to get through it,” Randy said.

News 8 is getting personal, sharing the stories of our teammates facing medical issues that challenge families throughout Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Whether he’s killing it in the kitchen whipping up red chicken chili and apple salad, or taking you through a killer workout, it’s always a blast when Firefighter Tim pays News 8 a visit. 

On the outside, Tim Griffin is the picture of health but sometimes looks can be deceiving.

For over a decade, Griffin has been dealing with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and painful ulcers in the innermost lining of a person’s large intestine. 

The large intestine is responsible for absorbing salts and water from undigested food and getting rid of leftover waste. The disease puts people at a higher risk of colon cancer and causes symptoms like rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea and debilitating stomach cramps.    

Griffin invited News 8 to the Carmel Fire Department where he works as both a firefighter and a public information officer to share how he felt when he was first coming to terms that he was sick. 

“At first, you just kind of want to ignore it,” he said. “You think to yourself, ‘This is OK. It will go away.”

That’s what Griffin did 11 years ago for the first three months. He ignored it, but when it came to a point where he was doubled over in so much pain that it had him running to the restroom up to 20 times a day he knew he had to act.

First, he tried to go at it alone. 

“I wanted to fix it. I wanted to fix it with diet. I wanted to fix it with fitness and I couldn’t. Some people, depending on the severity of their ulcerative colitis, can control it with diet. I tried a lot of things, but, unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to control it and that was something I had to come to terms with,” Griffin said.

Now, every six weeks, Tim visits his doctor to get an infusion of medicine to control his symptoms. He feels healthier than ever. 

But just like everyone, he has his down days. When News 8 asked Griffin how he prevents himself from falling into victim mode he said he’s reminded of the terrible things he’s seen over the two decades he’s been a firefighter. Images of families holding each other the moment they realize they’ve just lost everything and devastating burn wounds that some victims may never recover from are all seared into his memory.

“I know how fortunate I am, especially with the support I get from the fire department, my family, my friends, my wife,” Griffin said.

Now Griffin wants to help you.

“For me, I want to express to people: Don’t wait until you get sick or very sick to get checked out. Get in. Get your regular check-ups. If you start to have issues, go see a specialist and see what’s going on. So, I’ve dealt with it by trying to help others. I look at the comical side of it. I’m an open book. Now, I can joke with the guys here at the fire station. Sometimes after dinner when I’m like, ‘Oh! I’ll be back,’ they know something is going on. My stomach isn’t cooperating right now,” he said.

News 8 is getting personal, sharing the stories of our teammates facing medical issues that challenge families throughout Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Randall Newsome sits on the set of “All Indiana,” and each weekday his personality shines through the screen: smiling, laughing and always cracking jokes. 

But when Newsome was 15 years old, he experienced one of the darkest days of his life, and a health scare almost ended it. 

Sixteen years ago when Newsome was a sophomore in high school, one morning he knew something was wrong. “I started feeling a little heavy, like there was something weighing me down, and I felt a little flu-like and sluggish and really just off.”

But, Newsome headed to school anyway and told himself he’d tough it out. As the day progressed, so did his symptoms. By his last class of the day, Newsome found himself slumped over on his desk with a heaviness that he says felt as if someone had inserted a 10-pound dumbbell into the right side of his stomach. Instead of heading to baseball practice as he normally would, Newsome called his dad, Marcus. 

“We get home and I just tell him I’m going to go upstairs and lay down for a little bit…and he said that was a good idea until we figure out what’s going on. Let’s just make sure you get some rest and see where we’re at.”

But he was in too much pain to rest. His dad called a doctor and described his son’s symptoms. The doctor told him his son needed to go to the emergency room immediately 

When Newsome arrived at the hospital he was told he was having an appendicitis attack. 

The appendix is a finger-shaped pouch on the right side of a person’s abdomen. Appendicitis occurs when the organ becomes inflamed, swollen and infected and needs to be removed.

“I remember sleeping gas and I remember somebody asking me, ‘Oh, so you play sports,’ and then I was out.”

But when Newsome came out of surgery he learned it wasn’t his appendicitis. The cause of his illness was a result of something else. Doctors asked him if he had recently swallowed something sharp. The answer was yes.

A few weeks earlier, Newsome had ate an apple. When he bit into it a metal piece of his braces broke off and he swallowed it. The metal piece punctured a hole in a part of his intestine called the cecum. For weeks, an infection had been building in his system. The doctors told Newsome and his dad if they hadn’t come to the hospital for surgery when they did, Newsome could’ve died.

“It’s weird to think about the idea that I might not be here, but when you have a scar that reminds you every day that you could’ve easily not been here, it’s a reminder that we can’t take life for granted.”

By sharing his story, Newsome also wants to help others. Here’s his message to you: “If something feels weird and your body doesn’t feel right in any kind of way, just get it checked out. I’ve done so many stories here at WISH-TV where early detection was the only difference maker. Not treatment, not anything else. When you feel something might be wrong go get it checked out.”

News 8 is getting personal, sharing the stories of our teammates facing medical issues that challenge families throughout Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Patty Spitler is an Indiana TV icon, a former longtime news anchor, the host of “Pet Pals” and “Great Day TV,” and a member of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

But, what’s happening away from the camera is just as riveting. 

News 8 first reported on Spitler and her breast cancer battle in March. To this day, she remains cancer-free.

But, sometimes life hits us hard in many ways, and Patty is no exception. Once again, she welcomed News 8 into her home to share her latest health struggle.

“I have hyperphotosensitivity, which means, basically, I can’t go in the sun for an extended period of time. My bikini days are over,” Spitler said.

Hyperphotosensitivity, an auto immune disease, is when a person’s skin reacts abnormally to light from the sun or an artificial source of ultraviolet light, such as radiation in a tanning bed. When a person is exposed they get painful, pink itchy rashes that look like patches of eczema. The affected areas are also warm to the touch

Spitler says hyperphotosensitivity is typically genetic. Just like her breast cancer, she has no family history. Anyone can get it. 

“What happened back in June 2021, I went to the Indianapolis Zoo and I emceed an event called ‘Animals and All that Jazz,’ which I love, and my skin was showing from here and up here, and I noticed about a couple weeks later red marks all over.”

At first, Spitler and her doctor thought she might have lupus, but they soon made the connection that the rashes appeared only in places where she was exposed to the sun. The diagnosis became clear.

The difficulty with hyperphotosensitivity is there is no cure. It can only be managed. When Spitler experiences a flare up her only option is to layer her skin with creams to ease the pain and make the rashes disappear.

Now when she’s invited to speak at events or attend a gathering, her first question is “Is this going to be indoors or under a tent?” If the answer is “no,” she can’t go because unless she wears a hat, an outfit that covers her up from head to toe, and is armed with an umbrella for shade, Spitler knows what’ll happen. 

Unfortunately, having hyperphotosensitivity has taken away some of the things she loves. But, Spitler has never been the one to fall into victim mode.

“We all get older and we all have problems. We can either give into them and let them define you or you can push forward and I want to push forward.”

Spitler says staying positive is easy. She’s got the love of her pets, she has “Pet Pals” and her family at WISH-TV, and, by sharing her story, she wants to help others. 

“We all have a certain amount of time in this world and try to make the most of it and stay as positive as you can, and if you can make a joke about it, I find that helps, too.”

News 8 is getting personal, sharing the stories of our teammates facing medical issues that challenge families throughout Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — George Mallet sits on the set of “Life.Style.Live!

He’s waiting for a cue in his ear from the producer to toss to co-host Amber Hankins for a story about crispy chicken and okra.

TV viewers welcome Mallet into their homes at 10 a.m. weekdays on WISH-TV, and online anytime at Now, Mallet wants to welcome viewers into a part of his personal life: He’s been a Type 1 diabetic since he was 17 years old. 

Type 1 diabetes is when a person’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so it can produce energy. Without it, a person can’t function. Type 1 diabetes typically appears in adolescence, but people can also get it when they’re older. 

When he first found out Mallet says he was devastated. “I was a teenager and I was confronted with my mortality and it was terrifying at the time.”

Despite being young and scared, Mallet immediately went to his school library to learn about the disease. As he flipped through medical textbooks, he saw words that could possibly define his future: heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and blindness. Some people are even forced to have their legs or arms amputated. 

But, Mallet didn’t want that as his fate. Once he got over his initial grief of the diagnosis, Mallet decided he was going to live the best he could for as long as he could.

Since Mallet’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, he has to inject it into his body himself with a needle. After that, he’ll prick his finger to test his blood sugar to make sure the levels are right. He does this a dozen times a day.

Once a week, he’ll load up his infusion pump. The pump is a medical device that monitors his blood sugar levels to make sure insulin is being released in the right amounts. But that’s not all Mallet must do to keep his diabetes in check. He’s got to exercise. 

“I immediately took up long-distance running. I began to really focus on the things I could do for my health. The primary thing was to be exceedingly active.”

He bikes. He runs. He dances with his wife, Kathy. 

Even on the days when it’s the last thing he wants to do, Mallet forces himself to get out of bed and exercise because it’s not just about Mallet. He’s got someone really special relying on him: his 6-year-old pit mix, Spots. 

Everyday he suits up Spots in his harness and hooks him to his bike and the two go for a ride. Every. Single. Day. 

George has shared his life with his wife, who he married in January. She also shares in his journey to stay healthy.

“It’s wonderful to have him around,” she said. “It’s wonderful that there is someone that motivates me to move around and do things.”

“It’s hard to sit around and watch him do all these things without saying to myself: I have 30 minutes. I can go take a walk instead of just sitting here in my bathrobe.”

By sharing his story, Mallet hopes to help others. Here’s his message to Hoosiers: “A body in motion stays in motion. You stay active, you stay alive.”

We’re taking a look back at Indiana history. All this week, News 8’s Adam Pinsker is taking a look at Indiana’s role in the Civil War. This is the final part of five entries in our latest INside Story series.

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It’s estimated that 750,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War.

Huntington County, Indiana, which is just south of Fort Wayne, lost 250 men in battle during the four-year war.

Gib Young, a Civil War historian from Huntington, said, “Approximately 1,800 people from the county actually joined Union army or rejoined once their first enlistment was up.”

Huntington was home to a man named James Slack who became a brigadier general during the war. “He was involved in raising men for a regiment or a company to go and fight in the war,” Young said.

A total of 250 men from Huntington County died In the Civil War. Indiana as a whole lost 25,000 men during the war between the states.

Young said,

“One of every 8 men that Indiana lost in combat, who were killed or mortally wounded in combat, were killed or mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia,” which was from Sept. 18-20, 1863.

Even if soldiers survived combat, it didn’t necessarily mean they would make it through the war. Young said, “You had a much better chance of dying from measles than you did from a rebel bullet.”

Young, who is a member of the Sons of the Union, has a personal connection to the the Civil War. “I have a great-grandfather and then his three brothers, which would be great-great uncles fought.”

Young spends most of his time educating people about the Civil War. He reminds us about the old saying, “Those who repeat history are doomed to repeat it.”

“Everything that we do has a coincidence in leading up to the moment we are in right now, the way we think and all that. How can we just live our life and ignore all those variables?”

We’re taking a look back at Indiana history. All this week, News 8’s Adam Pinsker is taking a look at Indiana’s role in the Civil War. This is the fourth of five entries in our latest INside Story series.

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Camp Morton first served as a recruiting ground for Union troops.

Amy Vedra, director of reference services at the Indiana Historical Society, said, “The troops would go there, they would muster in and they would be sent to where they would be fighting.”

In 1862, following a major Union victory at Fort Donelson in northern Tennessee, the grounds were converted into a prisoner of war camp for Confederate prisoners.

“During that February after Fort Donelson, 4,000 Confederate soldiers came to Indianapolis to be housed at Camp Morton,” Vedra said.

The camp was named after Oliver Morton, Indiana’s governor during the Civil War.

Camp Morton was on 36 acres that bordered present-day Central Avenue and 19th, 22nd and Talbot streets. The site had been previously used for the state fair, and was again used for the fair after the war. Today, it ‘s a residential neighborhood known as Morton Place.

In a year’s time, 9,000 prisoners passed through the camp. Roughly 1,700 of them died there from disease.

“Many prisoner of war camps dealt with issues of clean water to support those that were there, because their latrine facilities were not always as clear cut from the water facilities,” Vedra said.

Those who survived were released and went back to their homes in the south.

“Some of them even stayed and took the oath of allegiance to the United States as those who have declared their allegiance,” Vedra said.

The Confederate soldiers who died at Camp Morton are buried in a special section at Crown Hill Cemetery on the city’s north side.

We’re taking a look back at Indiana history. All this week, News 8’s Adam Pinsker is taking a look at Indiana’s role in the Civil War. This is the third of five entries in our latest INside Story series.

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During the Civil War, the federal government asked Indiana Governor Oliver Morton to form an all Black regiment. It came to be known as the 28th Regiment and was activated in the spring of 1864.

“There were free men of color that fought, and there were enslaved men of color that fought,” Susan Hall Dotson, curator of the African Americans at the Indiana Historical Society, said.

There is a marker at the intersection of Virginia Avenue and McCarty Street that honors the area where those troops trained.

“Indiana’s only African American Civil War regiment served as part of the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops. African American infantry was authorized in 1863 to help fill federal quota for soldiers. The Reverend Willis Revels was recruiting officer. Recruits trained at Camp Fremont, established on land near here owned by Calvin Fletcher,” the marker says.

Despite there being a memorialization of the troops, it’s hard to find photos of these men in battle.

“Letters were being sent, there’s humanity in the midst of inhumanity going on,” Dotson said.

The Rev. William T. Revels was an Indiana pastor for the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church. He recruited African Americans to the 28th Regiment.

“It has been said that the church at the time, Bethel AME church that he was pastor, which is not the building here on the canal, but another church on Georgia street, was burned down because of his efforts to recruit for the 28th Regiment,” Dotson said.

A poster from that period shows all white officers of the 28th Regiment, but excludes their Black partners who volunteered to fight.

“They were not necesarily welcome to fight either, a lot of contentiouness as to whether they should serve or not,” Dotson said.

Black fighters persisted, despite being given inferior weapons and training, and future generations of Black soldiers would continue to face discrimination in the 20th century.

“It wasn’t new, that Black people were willing to fight for their own rights, as well as what they thought was right as citizens of a country where they were born,” Dotson said.

According to records, African American soldiers also fought alongside their white counterparts dating back to the War of 1812.

We’re taking a look back at Indiana history. All this week, News 8’s Adam Pinsker is taking a look at Indiana’s role in the Civil War. This is the second of five entries in our latest INside Story series.

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CORYDON, Ind. (WISH) — During the Civil War there were only two battles fought north of the Mason-Dixon Line: Gettysburg, and a smaller, lesser-known invasion of the southern Indiana town of Corydon. 

On July 7, 1863, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky into Harrison County, Indiana. 

“You’ve got 2,400 troops, you got that many horses. You got to have a way to get them across the river,” Karen Schwartz, President of the Harrison County Historical Society said.

To make it across the river,  Morgan hijacked a steamship.

“They used it as a decoy, then they ran up a distress flag over toward the Kentucky bank, to signal that they were in distress,” Schwartz said.  

The ploy worked and once on land, the troops, their horses and artillery fanned out and headed 15 miles inland for Corydon. Just short of town, Morgan’s troops engaged, not soldiers from the union, but members of the Indiana Legion led by Lewis Jordan. 

“So you’ve got these 450 volunteer recruit-type people lined up all the way across and here he comes with artillery, he’s got cannons and horses,” Schwartz said.

With Jordan’s outfit severely outnumbered, he surrendered to Morgan’s forces. Most of them were captured, although some escaped.

“Morgan and his men didn’t have very many resources, it’s not like today where you have all these supply wagons and things like that,” Schwartz said.

As a result, Morgan’s troops captured Red’s Mill near downtown, which is now a general store. They held it until its owner paid a ransom. 

“This guy paid the ransom, and they paid $800 so the mill was spared,” Schwartz said.

When the dust settled, eight home guard and civilians were killed, five Confederate soldiers were killed, one of which is buried in a cemetery in Corydon. 

The whole engagement lasted about an hour as word got out that Union reinforcements were on the way, Morgan’s troops headed north where they ransacked the town of Salem in Washington County. 

 “Most accounts say that Salem was the hardest hit of any of the towns,” Schwartz said.

Morgan eventually led his forces into Ohio, where they were defeated by Union forces, he was capture but eventually escaped from prison.

While most know Corydon more as Indiana’s first state capital, locals are well aware of their town’s role in a brief but scary event in the Civil War. 

“On a national level, I always feel like well how is this not recognized, but then again, sometimes you’ll see it called the skirmish,” Schwartz said.

We’re taking a look back at Indiana history. All this week, News 8’s Adam Pinsker is taking a look at Indiana’s role in the Civil War. This is the first of five entries in our latest INside Story series.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — He came to power during a time of deep division within the country. Oliver Morton took office just weeks before the start of the Civil War as Indiana’s 14th governor.

He was the was the first governor of Indiana who was born in the state. He was also staunchly against slavery, and made major contributions to the Union war effort.

Morton was originally elected as lieutenant governor in the 1860 election. Just two days into his term, Morton became governor after governor-elect Henry S. Lane was appointed to the Senate.

Within weeks of taking office, the Civil War broke out, and Morton, along with other northern governors, assisted with the war effort.

“Oliver P. Morton was instrumental in making sure that when Lincoln had to put out the call for troops, and put out the call for the needs of the nation, especially the needs of the north, Oliver Morton stepped up to help,” said Amy Vedra, Director of Reference Services at the Indiana Historical Society.

200,000 Hoosiers went to war for the Union, plus another 100,000 for the Indiana Legion or Home Guard.

“Indiana was the second-largest supplier of troops, when you consider percentage of population of the state,” said Vedra.

Morton also helped establish an arsenal originally in downtown, and then moved to the site known today as Arsenal Tech High School. He also had a close relationship with President Abraham Lincoln.

“Morton would go out and meet with Lincoln. Morton was big about going out and seeing the troops, the Indiana troops,” said Vedra.

As the war was winding down, Morton successfully sought a second term as governor, even though the state constitution barred a governor from serving two consecutive terms.

“Oliver P. Morton argued that he was not elected governor, so therefore he could run again, and he did run again, said Vedra.

After serving a second term as governor, Morton was elected by the General Assembly to the U.S. Senate, where he served until his death in 1877 at the age of 54.