WTOP’s Neal Augenstein: No Father’s Day presents, please

Stan and Neal Augenstein(Jay Blum)

I don’t wear ties much these days. My backyard grill is still working. Our cupboard is overflowing with coffee mugs, including one that reads “Grill Sergeant.”

Like a lot of us, I was lucky to have a terrific dad. Stanley Augenstein was smart, funny, friendly, involved — I loved listening to stories of when he grew up in the Bronx.

I’m pretty sure he never bought a second bottle of the English Leather or Aqua Velva I got him as Father’s Day gifts, but I know he kept some of the cards I wrote to him.

When I first became a father 16 years ago, I knew I’d follow my dad’s lead. And when things got tough, I’d think, “What would Stan do?”

By now you know I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November 2022. The hardest part for my wife and I was telling our kids, but we knew we were in great hands.

That confidence has paid off — with wonderful doctors, and cutting-edge treatments and screening, I’ve been cancer free since April 2023.

Just last week, I had my second liquid biopsy — a blood draw — that offers a real-time look for any mutations in my DNA, which would likely give enough information to my oncology team to choose the correct next treatment.

I’m pretty sure my wonderful wife and kids will offer to take me out for pizza at Frank Pepe’s, or have a fun dessert from Paris Baguette.

But honestly, just being able to be “Dad” this Father’s Day is the gift I really wanted.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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