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After week of bad press, FitzGerald assures supporters his son is still cancer-free

TNS Regional News • Aug 8, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald and his wife Shannon sent an email to supporters this morning announcing that their eldest son, a cancer survivor of about four years, had periodic tests this week with results that have come back “fine.”

The email was written within the context of revelations over the past week that FitzGerald was found in a car one early morning nearly two years ago with a woman who was not his wife and that he drove his car for 10 years without a driver’s license – revelations most believe have minimized any realistic chance he had of defeating Republican Gov. John Kasich this fall.

“This week, our family dealt with an ongoing challenge, but it’s not the one you probably heard about,” Ed and Shannon FitzGerald say in the beginning of the email. “It wasn’t about personal attacks, or personal mistakes, or gutter politics. While the political world, as usual, was focused on that kind of thing, we were focused on our oldest son, Jack.”

The email goes on to recap the diagnosis four years ago of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for Jack FitzGerald, which occurred while FitzGerald was running for Cuyahoga County executive. Jack, now 20 and a student at Xavier University, underwent chemotherapy and was declared “cancer free,” according to the email.

“He recently had some symptoms that had us concerned, so yesterday we had one of our periodic checkups, and so far everything seems fine,” the FitzGerald email continues. “We’re lucky that we’v e had such excellent, compassionate medical care. And in a way, we’re lucky that this has helped our family put the political games of the last week in perspective.

“While the rest of the political establishment was talking about drivers' licenses, our focus was right where it belonged – on our family.”

There has been no immediate word from the campaign explaining why the FitzGeralds sent the email. Staffers were relieved Wednesday upon learning that Jack FitzGerald’s tests were negative, but did not want anything reported in the press. FitzGerald seldom mentions his children on the campaign trail, except in passing. He did lash out at Kasich and Republicans for what he said were attacks on his children last week when the 2012 encounter became public.

A Democratic source said the FitzGeralds “felt it was needed.” Along with the email, his campaign tweeted a picture of the FitzGerald family in front of an American flag.

The FitzGerald email finishes: “We’re not looking for sympathy; lots of families have gone through the same or worse. But it’s helped us learn a lesson: that whatever is thrown at the FitzGerald family – personal, political, medical, whatever – we’re going to survive and just get stronger as a family unit. Nothing – nothing – will ever change that, whether we have support from millions of Ohioans, or whether we’re on our own.

“This campaign was launched for all the right reasons. As much as we care about our family, we know that you care about yours just as much. We want a state government that reflects those values -- quality education, good paying jobs, excellent medical care, and support for struggling families. But we won’t get there if we don’t focus on what really matters, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on again, beginning tomorrow. (Today we have a family birthday celebration, so we are taking a day off from campaigning.)

“Thank you to all of you who have offered support, friendship, and prayers. Our family is strong, and getting stronger. We hope yours is too.”


By Joe Vardon - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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