Remarks by Governor Hogan announcing his Cancer Free Diagnosis
Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here.
Next week, families all over Maryland and across the nation will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
It’s one of my favorite holidays, and this year, I have many things to be thankful for.
One hundred and forty-seven days ago, right here in this room, I called an emergency press conference.
I’d been governor of Maryland for exactly five months, and it was just 60 days after the riots in Baltimore.
In just a short period of time, we had already made a lot of progress in changing Maryland for the better.
That press conference back in June was an important one for me because it was so unexpected and so personal.
I knew that being governor of Maryland would be a tough job and that I’d face big challenges—I just never imagined that cancer was going to be one of them.
I couldn’t believe how quickly it had all happened.
I went from being focused on how to turn our economy around and put people back to work to doctors I’d just met telling me that a very advanced, very aggressive cancer—B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—had rapidly spread throughout my body.
Nothing really could have prepared me for exactly how the next few months would unfold, but even then, I knew that this challenge, and my job as governor, would be a blessing—that being constantly busy and focused on doing our important work for this state would help keep me in a fighting spirit.
I’ve learned a lot about cancer since that day.
I’ve learned about the ways that cancer and chemotherapy can ravage your body.
I’ve learned about the pain, the side effects, and the often overwhelming physical and emotional exhaustion, and about the impact on family and friends.
But I’ve also learned about the amazing strength you can gain from faith, from your family, friends, and even from complete strangers.
In the past almost five months following my diagnosis, I completed 30 days of aggressive, 24-hour chemotherapy, three surgeries, four spinal taps, and countless scans, drug therapies, and other procedures.
And with Thanksgiving next week, I want you all to know that I truly am incredibly thankful to be standing here with you today.
I have just gone through a complete and thorough diagnosis and this morning; I completed a PET scan at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
I’m very thankful to be able to report that incredibly, as of today, I am 100% cancer free and in complete remission.
This report could not possibly be any better.
It is unbelievably great news
However, it does not mean that I am cured.
It will take months for my body to recover from the cancer and the chemotherapy.
And there is also a chance that the cancer could return.
So, I have completed the aggressive chemotherapy treatment schedule, and I will now begin a monthly ongoing regimen of preventive maintenance to help lower the risk of recurrence. And I will continue to get scans on a regular basis to monitor my success and progress.
Over the next few months, I expect to be getting stronger every day.
My energy level will continue to increase, the swelling will go down, my hair will start to grow back, and God willing, I will be back to 110% before you know it.
I am so incredibly thankful to so many people who have stood by me in this fight.
First, I want to thank my entire family who has been with me every step of the way through good days and bad, always keeping my spirits high.
Especially the first lady, my wife Yumi; not only was she a primary caregiver, but she also filled in for me at events nearly every day.
And my daughter Jaymi was just incredible, spending so much time at the hospital, it seemed like she was always there supporting me.
I believe in the power of prayer, and I have been fortunate to be on the receiving end of quite a few of them in recent months.
The outpouring of prayers, well-wishes, and kind and thoughtful words from thousands of people across the state, the nation, and even from all around the world has been absolutely amazing.
I have read every single note. I have teared up over the “get well” artwork that schoolchildren tucked into bursting envelopes.
I met with Pope Francis and received his blessing on behalf of cancer patients around the world.
Country star Tim McGraw even dedicated a performance of his song Live Like You Were Dying to me.
Such acts of kindness have kept me strong and my spirits high, and they’re undoubtedly among the reasons I’m on the road to recovery.
Having a support system while undergoing cancer treatment is necessary, and I am eternally grateful.
I want to thank my oncologists, Dr. Aaron Rapaport and Dr. Arun Bhandari, who are here with us today, along with Dr. Kevin Cullen, who leads the Greenebaum Cancer Center, and his incredible team of doctors, nurses, and staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
I know I made their jobs difficult at times.
Their advice was always to go home and rest, stop going to events, stop working so hard, and most importantly, they kept stressing: no more shaking hands and no more hugs.
Then they’d see my posts on Facebook from events all around the state with pictures of me meeting with Marylanders, hugging and shaking hands.
I want to thank them all for putting up with me, even when I wasn’t following doctor’s orders!
Thanks to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford who stepped up his responsibilities and handled many additional public events and speaking engagements while I was undergoing treatment.
He is truly the most capable lieutenant governor Maryland has ever had, and I am lucky to have him as my friend.
A big thank you to my cabinet and my entire staff.
This was an unexpected test for everyone on our team, but with your dedication and hard work, together, we have accomplished so much on behalf of the people of Maryland over the last few months.
Finally, and most importantly, I know that I am no different than the thousands of other people who are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Young or old, black or white, rich or poor, cancer does not discriminate or care what your job is, and it certainly doesn’t care whether or not you have a state to run.
I’ve met so many amazing fellow patients going through this process.
To them, I was just another guy with cancer—a fellow dad, brother, grandfather, or friend, not a governor.
Their optimism, courage, and positive energy was my inspiration, particularly the kids, like my new pen-pal, five-year-old Andrew Oberley, who told me to keep my “hugging person” with me when I’m feeling down.
It’s because of them that I will remain committed to raising awareness and encouraging research that will one day lead to a cure for this terrible disease.
I want to thank the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Cool Kids Cancer Campaign, the Ronald McDonald House, the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Redskins, among others, for partnering with me in these efforts.
Today doesn’t mark the end of this journey for me, merely the end of one chapter.
Back in June, I said that not only would I beat this disease but that I would come out of it and be a better and stronger person, and governor, as a result.
Thanks in large part to the incredible support I have received, I’d like to think that I will.
Next week when my family gathers together for Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks for the amazing outpouring of love and support that I have received over the past five months.
Thank you! Thank you again for being here.