Jay Fisher has been involved with the Versailles Apple Festival for a long time, primarily as entertainment chairman.
He’s also been the emcee of Saturday’s parade.
But this year will be different. Fisher will actually be in the parade.
Fisher, owner/manager of KS95 Radio and presiding commissioner of the Morgan County Commission, was chosen as the grand marshal of the 2012 Apple Festival parade.
The news came as a surprise.
“It seems they have somehow elevated me to this point without even telling me about it,” Fisher said. “But to be included in that bunch (previous grand marshals), people who have done so much for the community, it’s something I find to be quite an honor.”
Fisher, 58, may even be able to do both — serve as parade emcee and grand marshal.
“From the way we’re talking, I may actually ride up to the square as part of the parade, then disembark from my chariot and continue on with my announcing of the parade,” Fisher said.
But before the Apple Festival festivities begin, Fisher was scheduled to check in at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is battling colon cancer for the second time.
“The cancer came back at the end of last year,” Fisher said. “I’ve been undergoing chemo all year.”
Fisher, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in August 2010. He had surgery in September 2010.
“They removed a chunk of colon at that time,” Fisher said. “But there were a lot infected lymph nodes that had cancer in them.”
In fact, Fisher had surgery in 2010 shortly before the Apple Festival.
“I had surgery just a few weeks before the Apple Festival,” Fisher said. “I was actually here for that Apple Festival. I hadn’t been out of the hospital for very many days. A lot of people said I shouldn’t have been here, but I was.”
Fisher had been receiving chemotherapy for this second round of cancer, but the cancer hasn’t gone away, which is the reason he is going to M.D. Anderson, one of the leading cancer centers in the nation.
“The first time it’s kind of an evaluation,” Fisher said. “I may go back for treatments, or it may be able to be done locally or somewhere in the region, it just depends on the path of treatments at that point.”
Fisher expects to be back from Houston in time for the Apple Festival.
“If everything works out and Lord willing,” he
Fisher said hoped he would get some answers when he was at M.D. Anderson.
“At this point it’s up in the air (as far as what course of treatment),” Fisher said. “Right now I probably know as little as I have in the past two years. I wish I did know. Any form of a positive indication is what I’m after. I think I would be cutting myself short if I didn’t pursue these other options and look at other courses of treatment.”
Asked how he’s been feeling, Fisher, who has lost about 80 pounds because of the chemotherapy, said he has good days and bad days.
“There are days I don’t feel half bad,” he said. “There are other days, oh, my gosh, I would just as soon crawl in a cave and not do anything.
“There are some things I can’t do that I used to be able to do, which really bothers. Hopefully with further treatment we’ll get back there at some point,” he said. “I count myself lucky to still be doing what I’m doing.”
Fisher, who never married — he’s been married to radio station, he said — moved to the lake area about 30 years ago. The Versailles-area communities became his family.
“My folks lived here at the lake for a while, but they have since moved to Rockford (Illinois),” said Fisher, who has a younger brother who lives in Illinois.
Both of Fisher’s parents, who are in their 80s, are cancer survivors.
“They both have had cancer and beat it and gone on and are very healthy now,” Fisher said. “So that’s encouraging.”
Which gives Fisher hope he, too, will beat cancer.
“I think I’ve been able to keep a really good attitude,” he said. “Everybody around me has been very supportive, from the people I work with (at the radio station) to everyone at the courthouse. I’ve seen that a good attitude can make a difference. Admittedly, there have been some tough days, where you wonder how much more of this I can take. But prayer, keeping the faith and all of that, I think it just all kind of works together.”