My Friend, the Bionic Reporter
I first knew BJ Reyes ’95 as a fellow sportswriter at The Daily Collegian. A diminutive Filipino by way of Cleveland, he was a few years older than the rest of us due to the health problems—namely, cancer—that had forced him to postpone college (he’s battled diabetes most of his life, as well). He was also smart, funny, and a great guy to hang out with—the sort of friend around whom many of our most memorable college stories revolved.
Years ago, he moved to Honolulu and established himself as a pillar of Aloha State journalism—he’s currently a political reporter for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser—but we’ve managed to stay in pretty good contact, so I knew that he’d never completely shaken the myriad health problems, repeat surgeries, and related complications that he’d dealt with most of his life.
So it wasn’t a complete shock when BJ emailed some of us a few months back to announce a brutal double-whammy: A drug-resistant staph infection in his leg meant he was facing surgery to replace the “hardware”—an artificial knee, hip, and femur—that he’d had installed as a kid due to his initial bout with bone cancer. Oh, and speaking of: After a long remission, the cancer was back, this time in his thyroid. The other thing that didn’t surprise us: How BJ presented this news with smiley-face emoji and corny jokes. As always, he’s the guy we all just assume deals with this stuff with barely a complaint.
BJ’s recovery—and path to, as he half-jokingly puts it, “becoming more machine than man”—is underway and by all accounts going great. And by “all accounts,” I mostly mean his blog, Bionic Reporter, which he’s updating regularly for the Star-Advertiser. In it, readers will find honest insight into the ups and downs of the treatment process, hugely helpful health and wellness advice, and—best of all, I think—BJ’s signature brand of relentless positivity. I hope you’ll follow along, and wish him well.
Ryan Jones, senior editor