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Advocating for cancer screenings, hope

Advocating for cancer screenings, hope

By Jessica Pickens on April 19, 2017

Anywhere you go in Spartanburg County, people know Nancy Welch.

She's remembered for her morning television show, which ran from 1967 to 1988 on WSPA. On the “Nancy Welch Show,” she performed cooking demonstrations, made crafts and interviewed local personalities.

Through her show, she even was able to travel to Hollywood and interview celebrities. WSPA is a CBS affiliate, and the network invited local stations to send a newscaster or other host to visit Hollywood and interview stars of programs slated for each upcoming CBS season. 

She talked with Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, Telly Savalas and Buddy Ebsen.

After decades sharing stories, Welch has dedicated her life to a new message – the battle against colorectal cancer. Welch is a public advocate for early cancer screening as she battles colorectal cancer.

“I have said from the beginning that I didn't mind anybody knowing about my cancer if they were willing to pray for me,” Welch said.

The advocate has appeared in newspaper articles, written an op-ed and been featured in a video about her health experiences.  

Diagnosed in 2011 following a colonoscopy, she describes her condition as “not the end of the road, but a bend in the road.” She has endured chemotherapy, radiation and a colostomy. There are times she doesn't feel well and can't volunteer. But Welch has a determined and optimistic focus and a great deal of faith.

“We don't know what's around that bend, but we know who is. God will see us through,” she said.

Welch has received treatment at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, first on the Spartanburg Medical Center campus and more recently on the Pelham campus. Gibbs at Pelham is a short drive from her home, and Welch appreciates the quiet, serene setting.

Most of all, she has developed strong relationships with caregivers. She was touched by the compassion Amy Curtis, MD, showed when Welch learned her diagnosis.

“I have total confidence in my doctors,” she said.

Her care team make it easier for Welch to focus on life outside of cancer. She has two sons and four grandchildren. She enjoys serving at her church, First Presbyterian, in Greer, and writes fictional stories based on her own family and life experiences. Her stories and books can be found at

Her most recent cookbook was published in 2010 which is based on the best of the “Nancy Welch Show.”  

“We cooked something every day on the show,” she said.

Preparing food on live television held some challenging surprises, such as the time when a casserole exploded and caught fire.

 Welch's career evolved in 1991 when she was hired by Greenville Technical College to start a new career. She left Greenville Tech in 2008 after serving as a vice president of student services. Welch later worked as community development coordinator for Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville.

Though cancer has slowed her down, Welch intends to keep forging ahead. She is working on a new book of fiction; this one will be a ghost story, she said.

“I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me,” she said.