CNN anchor Poppy Harlow tears up as she reads tribute to colleague Rene Marsh’s late two-year-old son

Chelsea Ritschel
·3-min read
CNN anchors pay tribute to colleague who lost two-year-old son to brain cancer (CNN)
CNN anchors pay tribute to colleague who lost two-year-old son to brain cancer (CNN)

A CNN anchor has emotionally shared her support for her colleague after she lost her two-year-old son to cancer.

On Thursday, CNN correspondent Rene Marsh revealed on Instagram that her son Blake had died from brain cancer the day before.

In the heartbreaking tribute, which included a series of photos of the two year old, the reporter shared all the things her son had taught her during his 25 months on earth, including “how much strength I had stored up in reserve that I didn’t know I had” and “a depth of love I have never experienced”.

“You inspired me to keep going when I wanted to give up. You helped me prioritise what is truly important in this life,” she continued. “I am forever changed because of you, my son.

“I feel blessed and honoured to have been your mom. I wish we had more time together but I’m grateful for the time we had.”

Marsh also reflected on all of the things her son, who she called “Blakey,” loved, including being outdoors, “cruising the neighbourhood in your drop top electric car,” and “humming classical music”.

The CNN anchor, who welcomed Blake with herhusband Kedric Payne in March 2019, then opened up about the extent of the loss, revealing that she hadn’t just lost her child but “all the dreams and hopes that a mom has for a son”.

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“I lost my motherhood and I’m mourning it all,” she wrote, before expressing her dedication to fighting pediatric cancer for the rest of her life. “I will do it not just to spare other parents from this unbearable pain but I will do it to forever honour you, Blake.”

Marsh concluded the tribute: “Mommy loves you and I look forward to holding and kissing you when we meet again.”

On Friday, Marsh’s colleagues shared their grief over the baby’s death with a segment dedicated to Blake, during which anchors Poppy Harlow and John Berman read the tribute in full.

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“We want to end this show on something very personal and take a moment to remember a very special member of the CNN family, our colleague, our beloved colleague Rene Marsh’s two-year-old son Blake passed away Wednesday after battling cancer,” Harlow told viewers as she teared up. “In a touching message to her son, and we’re going to read you the whole thing because we think it really matters, Rene writes this…”

Berman then began reciting the letter, with the anchors taking turns reading Marsh’s entire tribute to her late son, before Berman concluded the segment: “Our thoughts, our love are with Rene and her family. Please hug your children tonight. Please help in the battle against pediatric cancer.”

Harlow shared a clip of the segment on Twitter, where she captioned it: “We love you deeply Rene Marsh and we will forever love your sweet Blake.”

Prior to Blake’s death, Marsh had been open about her son’s battle with cancer, with the CNN correspondent addressing the importance of masks amid the Covid pandemic in an op-ed titled: “Wearing a mask isn’t political. It could protect my son’s life” in June 2020.

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On Friday, the journalist shared her gratitude to all the doctors and healthcare workers who took care of her son, writing on Twitter: “Thank you to all the doctors and nurses at #JohnsHopkins who cared for and loved Blake over the past year and a half.”

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