'But this is my journey... I got this.' Fox 9's Ian Leonard tackles skin cancer

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Ian on day 42 | He returns to Fox 9 on Feb. 13

He’s known on air as your weather man and he’s known off air for his efforts in the community.

And, he’s been missing for a few weeks on Fox 9. On Jan. 5, Ian shared with his viewers he’ll be off air for the next few weeks to undergo topical chemotherapy on his entire face. The topical chemotherapy is to ensure the skin cancer doesn’t come back.

Ian wrote to his followers on Facebook,

Hello my friends, I want to let you know that I will be off the air for the next few weeks. Many of you know that about 6 months ago I lost a third of my bottom lip to skin cancer. Now that the surgeries have completely healed the second part of my journey begins. I am undergoing topical chemotherapy on my entire face to ensure that skin cancer stays in my past and does not interfere with my plans of growing old with the woman I love and watching my amazing daughters grow up. In the meantime I will get lots of rest, read loads of books, watch my friends on FOX 9 News and have time to help my daughters with homework!

In 2016, Ian lost a part of his lower lip due to squamous cell cancer.

Ian’s journey with squamous cell skin cancer started last July. He noticed a small painful red bump on his lower lip and went into the doctor, during his appointment he received confirmation after a biopsy. Later that week, he spent five hours with seven separate surgical procedures to remove the cancer from his lower lip.

Using his social media accounts, he’s documented his doctor visits and healing process hoping others will learn from his experience.

Ian started a blog as a therapeutic writing journey through his topical chemotherapy.


Feb. 12

A little nervous...

My journey is finished, now it is time for dialogue. Real dialogue. Real discussion about cancer. Cancer must not win. It has taken too much flesh. It has destroyed too many families. It has taken too many lives."

Feb. 11

In love, please come back later...

"No blog today. I am busy being in love with my wife."

Feb. 10

The kindness of others...

"We can do this, together. We can do it right here. My chemo journey is over but the blog will live on. I will keep writing and we can start planning. We have work to do, together."

Feb. 10

Together we are stronger...

"Late this afternoon was tough. Seems silly. I was overcome with emotions. Nearing the end of my journey back to health. I realized it is almost done. What a journey. Thank you for coming with me."

Feb. 9

The beard lives on...

"I want to get back to work. To see my friends. To interact with the exceptional people in that building. To crack bad jokes in meetings. To feel the thrill of live news. To know that when I am finally there I am healed. Healed..."

Feb. 8


"Now my big choice. Beard or no beard? I kid. Sadly the beard goes away. I want to get back to TV. Ties, suits and weather maps... I can't wait."

Feb. 7

I got this... we got this

"My journey is almost complete. Now, my next task. Helping others. I won't let you down. Your Cancer journey becomes mine."

Feb. 5

Super Sunday...

"That was the game plan. To win my big game. The biggest game of my life. The game MVP is my wife."

Feb. 5

A great day...

"Today was a day for family and friends. A day to heal. A day away from the blog."

Feb. 4

A fantastic life...

"Quite a journey. Almost done."

Feb. 3

Been there, done that...

"Things are changing. Change is good. The sharp pain is gone. But it still hurts. It still aches. My cheeks and nose hurt. Like I went 5 rounds with Mike Tyson. My face is red and messy."

Feb. 2

Space mountain...

"I write this as we wait for my friend Randy Meier to stop by. My daughter thinks Randy has the best hair on TV. She also thinks he is 32, Silly girl."

Feb. 1

Perfect French fries...

"Time is something I have. Time to heal. Time to write. Time to learn French. Time to cook. I love to cook. Tonight I will cook fries. Perfect french fries. Not frozen. Not ready made. Perfect fries require time, patience, potatoes and oil.

Jan. 30

Different is good...

"Don't stare, instead say hello. I am still that goofy guy from TV. I promise to say hello right back. It will get better."

Jan. 29

The erosion phase...

"This is it. No more chemo. I have reached what is called "the erosion phase." Not a great name. It needs tweaking." "The next five days will be rather unpleasant, but the end is near."

Jan. 28

Cheeseburgers... just cheeseburgers...

"My friend Jeff Passolt and his wife MaryAnn brought over a sack of cheeseburgers today. I am nominating him for the "really good guy of the year" award. He is a prince. I hope it does not go to his head."

Jan. 27

Pizza, rainbows and unicorns...

"I am grateful for all of my friends. Even my friends who are Packers fans."

Jan. 25

Ready to be done... 

"We all need each other. There is someone in your life that needs help right now. Reach out, buddy-up." 

Jan. 25

The climb is almost complete...

"Cancer sucks. But I have been blessed. Blessed by kindness. This kindness has many faces. From my closest friends to complete strangers."

Jan. 24

If you smell what The Rock is cooking...

"I can see the finish line."

Jan. 22

Day 20, pics

"Sunday-Funday, not really. Worst day so far."

Jan. 22

Phone a friend...

"I have an amazing life. It is an incredible, blessed life... skin cancer and all."

Jan. 21

Insert title here...

"Skin cancer stole a piece of my kissing apparatus, yet according to my wife, I remain an enthusiastic kissing machine."

Jan. 20

A few snaps... (pics)

Jan. 19

This is Jeopardy...

"My prayers tonight will be for those who are going through hell. My treatment is nasty but I am no where near hell, I can't even see it from where I am. The end is near, but in a good way. I can see past this. I can see a sack of cheeseburgers in my future."

Jan. 18

The Ouch-Ouch dance...

"I got this. More importantly, I have got my incredible wife, my amazing daughters and a wonderful life. There are a lot of people out there worse off than me... prayers for them please. Cancer sucks."

Jan. 17

Time after time... 

"I appreciate this time and am learning how to better use it. I have more time with my family. Time to help my daughters with homework. Time to read. Time to ponder time. And yes, time to feel prickly, itchy pain."

Jan. 16

Hang in there baby...

"Don't look at the whole elephant; you'll be overwhelmed. Just take it one bite at a time" 

Jan. 15

Band-aids, Dory and Dad...

"Almost halfway done. I got this, keep swimming!"

Jan. 14

A blintz for breakfast... 

"I'm just on a slight skin cancer detour from my regularly scheduled life."

Jan. 13

Just look around…

“Nothing in life is easy and cheap.. love your skin and protect it.”

Jan. 12

My modeling portfolio…

“But this is my journey… I got this.”

Jan. 12

Does your face hurt…

“The simple answer, yes. It does hurt. Like the worst sunburn of my life and getting nastier everyday with chemo.”

Jan. 11

Sleepless in Minnesota…

“You can’t actually catch up on sleep.”

Jan. 10

Red, splotchy and sore… (pics)

“At this rate I will be ready for a walk on role on The Walking Dead sometime late next week.”

Jan. 10

Je suis La (I’m still here)…

“I need to say this again; there are so many people undergoing so many worse things than I am right now.”

Jan. 9

Possible side effects…

"I have lost my ability to really taste my food. Most everything tastes like dirty potatoes. I had been told that this type of chemotherapy can have that effect on my taste buds and bam... it happened, my taste buds left. I hope they are enjoying themselves on a beach somewhere eating spicy tacos."

Jan. 7

We were idiots…

“We thought having a sun tan meant that we were healthy – because we would do almost anything to get that sun tan.”

Jan 6.

Day one…

"Come with me, let's open a dialogue about skin cancer."

January 4, 2017

And so it begins…

Fox 9’s Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard has been an advocate for Special Olympics Minnesota for years. Over the last decade, $15 million has been raised for Special Olympics Minnesota. He’s taken the plunge into chilly water over 150 times to raise money for the organization. Ian hopes to return to this year’s Polar Plunges by mid-February.