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Katie Couric in Houston to receive MD Anderson award

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Award-winning journalist Katie Couric is here in Houston Tuesday for a very important cause. She's speaking at a benefit for MD Anderson, along with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Couric is a public figure with a very personal fight and Eyewitness News got to talk with her about it.

Since losing her husband, Jay, to colorectal cancer 13 years ago, Couric has been on a personal mission to end the disease.

"I saw an incredible opportunity for me to make people more aware and to change behavior and hopefully save lives. That's what I've been focused on ever since my husband passed away," Couric said.

In Houston to accept MD Anderson's Making Cancer History award, the 54-year-old mother of two is credited with raising awareness after her on-air colonoscopy in 2000.

"There is something called the 'Couric Effect' that was found by researchers at the University of Michigan -- there was a 20 percent increase in colonoscopy screenings after I embarked on this cause. I call it the Jay Monahan Effect,' not the Couric Effect," Couric told us.

But though she's proud of what she has accomplished, Couric said there's still a lot of work for her to do.

"It will never replace having a husband or a father for our two daughters, but at least I feel I'm doing something, and I'm sparing other families the pain we had to endure," said Couric.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in this country, and yet it is highly preventable with regular screenings. We were particularly excited to meet Couric because she's a new member of the ABC family -- She'll launch a new syndicated talk show next fall.

We spoke with Couric about that big project and how she started her career at ABC years ago; we'll have that part of the interview for you Wednesday afternoon on Eyewitness News.

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