A memo sent to Kansas City Star employees today says longtime Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart got a clean bill of health after undergoing leukemia treatment and will be leaving the paper.
Star editor Mike Fannin and managing editor Steve Shirk write:
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.
Over the years, Aaron represented The Star everywhere. In addition to his regular print presence, he maintained his blog, TVBarn, he appeared regularly on local and national radio shows, and he appeared frequently on CNN as well. He kept us ahead of the curve, whether it was his online efforts (and early adopter of Twitter and Facebook) or in his coverage. …
His ideas were numerous and his energy at times seemed boundless. We will, of course, miss Aaron tremendously. |t’s with much regret that we say so long and Wish him and Diane al! the best.
BARNHART’S MESSAGE TO THE STAR STAFF:
First let me say how grateful I am for all the cards and emails of encouragement sent in the past few months, messages that I have read and re-read. Thank you as well to everyone who protected my privacy during this long healing process. 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.
The irony is that I could only image leaving The Star because of all The Star has given me. Simply put, I would not be the writer or the person I am today had Steve Paul not called out of the blue nearly 16 years ago to inquire of my interest in coming to Kansas City.
Though I am eager to do new things, my affection remains undiminished for this great newspaper and the community of FYI [the Star's feature section] who supported me in sickness and in health all these wonderful years.