(WKBN) — Bob Hannon has had several careers — sportscaster, play-by-play man, non-profit president. But this summer he stared death in the face and beat it.
Just walking downhill into his United Way offices in Youngstown, Hannon gets tired.
“The loss of weight makes me weak and fatigued,” said Hannon.
Hannon’s ordeal began June 11 after a round of golf.
“And within a couple minutes felt like my stomach was on fire. I actually went down into a fetal position,” said Hannon.
From a leather chair in a conference room, Hannon talked about what came next. How doctors say it started with diverticulitis which Hannon never knew he had.
“He said, ‘Well it ruptured your bowel. It perforated your bowel, and you’ve got a major infection in your stomach,'” said Hannon.
For 20 years Hannon was WYTV’s sports anchor, interviewing coaches like Jim Tressel. He’s been the voice of YSU football for 33 years.
“I think the community saw United Way as the leader during the pandemic,” said Hannon.
Hannon has also spent the past 14 years as President of the United Way.
A month after his bowel ruptured, Hannon had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
“I think had I not had surgery on July 11 and delayed it a couple of weeks, I potentially could have put myself in a position not to make it,” said Hannon.
At age 62, Hannon was the picture of health three months ago but has since lost 38 pounds. His clothes don’t fit, his voice is weak, and he’s wearing an ostomy bag. But he’s changed — no more stressing over the little things.
“I’m telling you…it’s changed me. It changed me for the better. So if something good comes out of this I’m a different person, and I got to remember that. If I ever take my health for granted again I hope somebody punches me in the face,” said Hannon.
In October, Hannon will undergo another surgery to get rid of the ostomy bag after which his doctor says he should be OK.
He’ll continue running the United Way and plans to call every YSU football game.
“But I love it…and I feel mentally it will help me. It’ll help me to do the games. It’ll help me to get out. It’ll help me to be part of it, and I love it. I enjoy it,” said Hannon.