7 years ago this summer I began working at WBIR, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville, TN. I was fresh out of school, and while I had gained a lot of experience working in Gainesville, this was my first *real* job. I was informed I was the first producer ever hired by the station straight out of college, and I didn't want to disappoint anyone.
At the time I arrived in Knoxville, all the other producers were pitching in on what would become *my show.* They would each fulfill their responsibilities during the week, and then come back overnight on the weekends to put together the weekend morning show. So I'm guessing they were all pretty happy for me to be there, and pretty eager to get me trained so I could do it on my own and they could return to their normal lives.
Among those producers responsible for making sure I didn't screw up too bad was Brian Barger. Brian was the only guy among the gaggle of girl producers. In fact, now that I think about it, I think he might still be the only guy on the producer team there. I remember my first impression of Brian was that he was the most laid back newsroom employee I had ever met. Relaxed is not a word often used to describe producer types. High strung is much more likely. But not Brian. He cracked jokes, and managed to answer all of my questions without making me feel stupid. He made me feel more confident in my abilities without throwing me completely into the fire.
Anyway, this entry isn't about Brian. Well, not really anyway. It's about Brian's daughter Emily. The past couple of years have been really hard on Emily and her family. She was diagnosed with a really rare form of cancer, and after finishing her treatment last year, they learned recently that the cancer has returned. At only 7 years old, Emily is fighting for her life for the second time.
While I don't live in Knoxville anymore, a large part of my heart is still there. I think often of the friends that became like family when I lived in East Tennessee. Tonight my heart is heavy thinking of the Bargers and their struggles. I wish there was more I could do for them, but from so far away all I can offer is prayer.
So if you're the praying type, please pray for Emily and her family. They've been granted a miracle before, and now they need another.