Aaron Barnhart leaves KC Star after recovering from leukemia

Kansas City Star television writer Aaron Barnhart has left the paper after undergoing an experimental treatment for hairy cell leukemia, a cancer of the blood.

He’s started a new version of his column, TVBarn, and promises to keep writing:

“I’ll continue to blog and blab about media, but in the months and years ahead I will be pushing myself into the field of longform writing — essays and books — and embarking on some other projects that were impossible to even think about while in daily journalism.”

Jim Romenesko posted memos from editor Mike Fannin, managing editor Steve Shirk and Barnhart.

Having mixed emotions is a cliche, but in this case wholly justified. In the last few days Aaron Barnhart got a clean bill of health from the medical staff at the National Institutes of Health, where he has been undergoing experimental treatment for a particularly rare kind of hairy cell leukemia. Wonderful news. Coming out of that experience and looking toward the future, Aaron, our television and media writer for the last 15 years, has determined that he will move on to a different life plan and the proverbial other things, including some interrupted book projects he and his wife, Diane, Eickhoff, had been working on together.

Barnhart wrote:

Not only did I have a full recovery, but my clinical trial at HIH has give me a way forward with this chronic condition, so that I don’t have to fear the kind of debilitating relapse that sidelined me for much of the past year.

Being sidelined, however, did give me a chance to contemplate what I might do with my life once I recovered. I realized that I had a strong desire to take my writing to the next level, and that this would likely involve stepping away from the world of mass media. In addition, there were other projects I have wanted to pursue but couldn’t because of my employment at The Star. In the end, the force of these possibilities proved irresistible. …

Though I am eager to do new things, my affection remains undiminished for this great newspaper and the community of FYI who supported me in sickness and in health all these wonderful years.

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