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Cox speaks about not seeing other people’s pain

During a recent chapel, Nancy Cox said, while she some- times feels helpless reporting bad news, she can tell the story of heroes who help. (Campbellsville University Photo by Chosalin Morales)

By Daisy Rodriguez, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “No one really knew the pain I was in because I had that game face on 99 % percent of the time,” Nancy Cox said.

Cox is a native of Campbellsville University who is beginning her third decade as a journalist at WLEX-TV in Lexington.

Cox said we don’t know what people look like from inside, but X-rays do. She then proceeded showing a picture of her in a hospital in her gown.

“This was me four years ago, and even in that picture…in a hospital gown that opened in the back, of course, and was drafty and all that. I had my game face on,” Cox said.

She said that regardless of the pain she was feeling in that picture, she still had her game face on. Sometimes you don’t see the pain people are feeling inside.

On April 10, 2018, she had an X-ray, and she showed a picture of her spine and how her curved spine affected her everyday life. She said she learned how to adjust, hide it, stand a certain way and tailor her clothes just so that people didn’t see her deformity.

She said when her doctor measured her curve it was about 42 degrees of a curve. The doctor told her that it was something that needed to be fixed. She said he mentioned a word that she never thought she would ever hear and it was “wheelchair.”

If she didn’t correct the problem sooner, her future would’ve been in a wheelchair.

Cox said for months that pain had grown daily. Simple things like doing laundry, walking the dog, loading a dishwasher and standing on a cement floor were quickly becoming impossible for her.

“I remember very vividly looking for the stool that was just the right height so that when I cooked in my kitchen; I could sit down. I tried to keep my game face on but when I heard the word ‘wheelchair’ was laid out there, I knew I had no choice,” Cox said.

She showed a picture of what her spine looks like currently, and it is much better. The X-ray picture shows where the titanium rods and screws that are holding her together. And it’s all anchored into her hips with large screws.

She said you can’t go through something like that and drill into that much of your spine and that much of your bone and not be in excruciating pain. To fix her pain, she had to go through more pain.

Cox said she always gives out the bad news like crimes, death, or other unfortunate things that happen around the world. So, her coming to chapel makes her happy because she can give good news.

She said she has been asked strange questions and that very few of them were about news. She said those questions were probably about what makeup she wears, where is she getting her nails done, where she gets her clothes and she’s even been asked who was her plastic surgeon.

She said the questions she’s been asked many times through her career was how do you do it? How do you talk about such bad stuff night after night?

She said that at first, she didn’t exactly put much thought onto it, but as the years passed she said it gets heavy coming home knowing the terrible things that can happen. She said it can be depressing.

Cox read an excerpt from Max Lucado, who wrote “Bold Love.” The section is called, “A Satisfying Thirst.” It was about a mother and her young daughter who were in a horrible earthquake in Soviet Armenia and were trapped there for eight days.

Her daughter was continually asking her mother for a drink, even though there was nothing. “Mommy, I’m so thirsty,” her daughter said. The mother knew her daughter was going to die, but she only wanted her to live.

The mother lost track of time, they got cold, the mother lost feeling in her fingers and toes and since she lost the ability to move. She lost hope. She was just waiting for death. However, the mother remembered a television program about an explorer in the Artic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave his friend his blood.

The mother had no water, juice or any other liquids to give her, but her blood. She found a piece of shattered glass and sliced opened her groping numb finger and gave her daughter her blood to drink.

Her mother lost count of how many times she cut her fingers to give to her daughter.

“In our nation right now, in our world…the thirst is great. In our state, in our community, maybe in our own hearts,” Cox said. “Each of us is on one side of that thirst. Maybe we need someone else to give us a part of them. Or maybe we need to offer part of ourselves to someone else.”

She said she thinks about that thirst everyday — in the stories she reports, the murders, the rape, the addiction and the deaths. She said sometimes she feels helpless like how the mother first felt with not having water for her daughter.

“I can’t pull people from airplanes, but I can tell the story of the man who did. I can’t physically go to Ukraine and Poland and help the refugees. I can’t physically fight for them, but I can tell the story of the people who do,” Cox said.

Cox has covered a presidential inauguration, 20 Kentucky Derbys and more than 25 elections. In recognition of her journalism skills, she has received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, seven Emmy Awards and multiple Kentucky Associated Press Awards.

She is the president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-Ohio Valley Region. As a journalist, she feels blessed to have spent her entire career in the home state she loves.

A graduate of Taylor County High School, she attended Campbellsville University from 1995 to 1997. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Western Kentucky University, Cox is a former Taylor County Junior Miss and third runner-up in the State Junior Miss Program.

In 1990, she was selected as Miss Kentucky and advanced to compete in the Miss America pageant.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that has enrolled up to 12,000 students yearly. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is