In September last year, Peter Overton heard the words no one ever wants to hear.
“I’m really concerned about this, Peter. This could be lymphoma,” his GP told him.
In an interview with Stellar, Overton, 52, explained he had been feeling unwell for months. He felt rundown and lethargic, he told a colleague on set he felt “abysmal”.
He had lumps all over his body and his neck was so swollen he couldn’t button up his shirt collar.
His wife Jessica Rowe, 47, finally convinced him to see a GP.
After examining Overton the GP told the veteran news reporter he could have lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
In that moment Overton couldn’t help but think about all the people he had interviewed over the years who had been a similar position to him.
“I had never been in that situation myself. I have reported on it. I have sat in front of families with kids dying, and with Chris O’Brien,” he told Stellar.
“But suddenly my mind was there. It wandered to places I didn’t want it to wander. I was calm, but it was going. This was the most challenging thing I have faced.”
The GP immediately sent Overton to have a CT scan. The scans also pointed to lymphoma. He would need further tests.
Overton was waiting for Rowe that night as she pulled into the family’s driveway, he told her it could be serious.
He spent the next couple of days contacting his lawyer and accountant and spending as much time as possible with his daughters – Allegra, 11, and Giselle, eight.
After several anxious days the family finally received the results – it wasn’t cancer but a very serious virus.
The father-of-two said the health scare made him appreciate his own mortality more.
“Is it life changing? No. But I can smell the brakes hitting the ground,” he told Stellar.
In March this year, Rowe announced she was leaving Studio 10 to spend more time with her family.
“I’ve decided to leave Studio 10. It’s been a very hard thing for me to do. But it’s because my family need me,” the 47-year-old said on-air.
“I want to be more present; I want to be a present mum for my girls. Allegra and Giselle, they need their mum. And I want to be there in the mornings for them, I want to take them to school, I want to do canteen duty – heaven help them with the sandwiches. But it’s something that I need to do. It’s as simple as that.”
Rowe, a former news reader, joined the Channel 10 program for its launch in September 2013, alongside co-hosts Joe Hildebrand, Sarah Harris and Ita Buttrose.
The Sydney mum said the decision to leave the show has been “difficult”.
“Peter [Overton, her husband] and I have spoken a lot about this over the past six months, and it’s weighed on me because this is a job that I love. It’s the best job I’ve had on television. It is family, and it’s been a job that’s allowed me to find my voice and my courage again, and I will never ever forget that.”