As majority leader Steve Scalise announces his new cancer diagnosis and author Ibram X. Kendi reveals that he is cancer free, this is what’s happening in the oncology space this week.
Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber,” died from cancer.
Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, commonly known as “Joe the Plumber,” died from pancreatic cancer this past Sunday, according to his son, Joey Wurzelbacher.
Wurzelbacher, who was 49 at the time of his death, worked as a plumber in Toledo, Ohio, but became a popular media star once he asked a then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama about his tax plan.
“The only thing I have to say is that he was a true patriot. His big thing is that everyone comes to God. That’s what he taught me, and that’s a message I hope is heard by a lot of people,” Joey Wurzelbacher said in a statement.
U.S Senator John McCain began to quote “Joe the Plumber” in presidential debates days after Obama responded on the news about “spreading the wealth around.” McCain later took Wurzelbacher to campaign with him alongside Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, until Wurzelbacher stated that he didn’t want McCain as the Republican presidential nominee, according to AP News.
Wurzelbacher traveled to conservative rallies and gatherings around the country, wrote a book and worked with an organization focused on wounded veterans.
Eventually, Wurzelbacher gave up on politics and returned to plumbing, his family stated.
Steve Scalise, house majority leader, announced cancer diagnosis.
Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican house majority leader, announced this past Tuesday that he is being treated for cancer.
“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer,” he said in a statement.
Congress is expected to return next month, after a temporary suspension in August.
“I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months. I expect to work through this period and intend to return to Washington, continuing my work as Majority Leader and serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District," explained Scalise.
“I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable. I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges,” Scalise said.
Author Ibram X. Kendi announced that he is officially cancer free.
Ibram X. Kendi, author of the 2019 bestselling novel, “How to be an Antiracist,” announced this past Monday that he is cancer free. Kendi, 41, was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer in 2018.
“Only 14% of people receiving my diagnosis are likely to be alive five years later. Today, I can officially say I am a cancer survivor. Feeling both grateful to be alive and terrible that other cancer patients aren’t here with us,” Kendi wrote on Instagram this past Monday.
“After six months of chemotherapy, I had an all-day surgery today five years ago. I’ve had to get scanned pretty regularly ever since, hoping the cancer did not return. But despite all the hate and envy directed my way over the years, the arms of love did not let it all get to me. The cancer did not return,” Kendi continued.
Colon cancer is the fourth leading cancer in men and women, alongside the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths within the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kendi explained his life with cancer while writing “How to Be an Antiracist,” while raising his 2-year-old daughter. Kendi also said that he experienced a variety of side effects, including weight loss, fatigue, bowel pain and blood clots months before he received a colonoscopy revealing his cancer diagnosis.
“In waiting rooms and while waiting in doctors’ rooms, I exchanged several emails with the editor, finalizing the essay that argued ‘the heartbeat of racism is denial. I argued that the heartbeat of antiracism is confession.’ Writing the piece forced me to confess my fear of death. I confessed to my loved ones that I did not want to die before finishing ‘How to Be an Antiracist.’ I wanted it to be my last literary contribution to the world. I wrote it critically and carefully, untroubled about a backlash I might not live to see. And ironically, the book will come out this August, a week after the 37th birthday that I intend to see,” explained Kendi according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kendi has published two books since then, “How to Raise an Antiracist” and “Antiracist Baby.”
Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin team up to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
The New York Giants’ former quarterback, Eli Manning, and former coach and executive Tom Coughlin are raising awareness in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to recognize almost 10,000 children every year who are diagnosed under the age of 15, according to the American Cancer Society.
Coughlin and Manning filmed a video for their campaign, which officially begins in September, and told viewers to post a picture with the hashtag “#ShowUsYourTeam.”
“When you have cancer, you’re not going through it alone, and you’re not going to beat it alone. You’re going to need a team of support from your family, your friends, your community, your nurses and doctors in the hospital,” explained Manning to ABC News.
Manning has also teamed up with “Tackle Kids Cancer” since 2015 to raise money for cancer research and programs for patient care, according to ABC News.
Manning later won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2016-17 for his work within different charities.
“It started with going to visit the children in the hospital, try to lift their spirits. And it just became, what else can I do? How else can I be helpful? How can I make a bigger impact? And now, you know, eight years later, I've raised over $20 million,” explained Manning.
Manning named Coughlin his inspiration, as his Tom Coughlin’s Jay Fund focuses on supporting families who are undergoing financial hardships.
“Visiting with patients and families now, it’s hard not to get attached,” explained Coughlin.
Manning and Coughlin continue to make an impact within the charities that they work with. “I think we'll be able to have a big impact, raise a lot of awareness and continue to help more families that are dealing with cancer,” Manning stated, according to ABC News.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.