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  • WRTV

    Former WRTV anchor dies at age 53

    By Kara Kenney,

    27 days ago

    WHITESTOWN — Former WRTV anchor Tanya Spencer has died after battling an aggressive cancer which started in her colon.

    She was 53 years old.

    Tanya Sumner, known as Tanya Spencer during her television reporting career, also served District Three on the Whitestown Town Council.

    She died at her home on May 24.

    Tanya spent 10 of her 20 years in television journalism as a reporter and anchor at WRTV.

    In her final Facebook post to friends, Tanya said, “Time. Good health. Those are our only true commodities. Our only true currencies that matter.”

    While her television career by its nature was public, the married mother of a teenager always cherished her privacy including when she left television to pursue other dreams.

    The Whitestown Town Manager said Tanya will be missed in her community.

    "The town of Whitestown has lost a dedicated leader who will leave a void in all our hearts. Vice President Sumner wasn't just a dedicated councilwoman, she was ingrained in our community and cared deeply for her family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues," said Whitestown Town Manager Katie Barr. "Her love for this community was infectious and will be sorely missed." WRTV

    Her biggest challenge surfaced on Nov. 17, 2022 . Emergency surgery led to the discovery of colon cancer.

    The chemo failed, and to make matters worse, the cancer spread throughout her abdomen.

    "I have a rare genetic mutation. It's called Kras G12c mutation. It's very aggressive, very fast growing," Sumner said in 2023.

    By September of 2023, she'd learn that a new round of cancer fighting drugs were also not effective.

    Sumner encouraged others to get a colonoscopy. She waited to get a colonoscopy check-up, unaware that in 2021 new guidelines called for the screenings to begin at age 45 instead of 50.

    "If you could imagine me finding this grapefruit size tumor 6 years earlier--we would be having a different conversation. Yeah its (a colonoscopy) uncomfortable, its unpleasant. No one wants a colonoscopy but get the thing. Get it at 45," said Sumner.

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