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|Beck calls Kanzius a hero|
|Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 2:01 AM|
Radio and television talk-show host Glenn Beck called John Kanzius a hero, not a victim.
Cancer may have killed Kanzius before his external radio-frequency device was ready for human trials, but that doesn't diminish his accomplishment, Beck said.
Beck was in Erie on Saturday to give the keynote address at faces2012, the inaugural Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation National Conference.
"John Kanzius was not a victim. He was a hero," Beck said during his 20-minute speech at the Ambassador Center, 7794 Peach St. "He was a dreamer but also a doer. He didn't know anything about cancer, about chemotherapy or research. All he knew was radio. He saw a connection but it just didn't happen in his lifetime."
Beck was invited to speak after Kanzius Foundation officials appeared on his shows in 2011. He waived his speaking fee for the event.
The political commentator's appearance sparked protest on the Kanzius Foundation's Facebook page, an issue Beck addressed in his speech.
"When I found out this was controversial, I pointed out that I was not here to raise money for cancer but to fight cancer," Beck said with a smile. "Maybe people misunderstood."
About 380 people attended Beck's speech. Tables had to be set up outside the center's ballroom to accommodate the crowd.
Beck didn't arrive in Erie until shortly before his speech because bad weather delayed his flight, said Kanzius Foundation Executive Director Mark Neidig Sr.
Beck left immediately after his speech and was not available for interviews.
Cancer survivor Toni Dillon addressed Beck from the stage during her talk.
"I was asked what I thought of Glenn Beck," said Dillon, who has been diagnosed with four different cancers. "I don't care about Glenn's politics. If Glenn can get John's machine to fruition, I will lift my hat off to him."
Dillon then looked at Beck and doffed the pink baseball hat that covered her bald head.
Beck stayed away from politics during his speech, telling his audience that cancer is an invader that knows no nationality, no race, no political affiliation.
"Cancer doesn't care who you vote for, though if you're curious I could help you with that," Beck said to a burst of laughter from the audience.
Beck also announced during his speech that 10 percent of all advertising on his shows will go to charity, including the Kanzius Foundation.
"We're in this for the long haul," Beck said.
Published October 28, 2012 by David Bruce at 12:01AM at http://www.goerie.com/beck-calls-kanzius-a-hero