Barton County Sheriff battles colon cancer

GREAT BEND, Kansas – March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. KSN has teamed up with the Colon Cancer Coaltion to bring awareness to this disease. We’ve chronicled our own Leon Smitherman with his fight against cancer. Now another public figure in central Kansas is going through his own battle with colon cancer.

Its been three months since Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer at age 53.

“I’ve been a law enforcement officer for many years, I’ve been shot at, I’ve been in a lot of precarious situations but nothing is as terrifying as being told that you’ve got cancer.”

Sheriff Bellendir said like most people he put off having a colonoscopy, thinking that cancer couldn’t happen, especially since he was feeling fine.

“The weekend before I had been cutting down trees, literally cutting down trees and felt fine, I got a colonoscopy and was told that I had cancer.”

He’s had surgery, that took half of his colon. Now, he’s going through chemotherapy every other week.

“It’s tough on everybody, I’ve got a lot of friends and family, being an elected official in the county, you know a lot of people and people are concerned about you. Mostly you see expressions of concern and people don’t know what to say but mostly they’ve been very supportive.”

He knows he’s lucky. He’s only had to miss five days of work and so far, the side effects from chemo have been bearable, but he knows he should have gotten checked earlier.

“Whether your a cop or a criminal or somewhere in between, if you’re getting close to age 50, you need to go in and get checked, it can save you a lot of grief, don’t wait, it is not painful. it’s an inconvenience but it can save your life.”

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