Bruce Elder ends congressional campaign: Fighting cancer

bruce-elderDemocrat bruce elder announced today he is ending his campaign for U.S. Congress in the sixth district due to being diagnosed with cancer.

In a message to supporters, Elder, a sitting member of Staunton City Council, wrote, “I want to beat Bob Goodlatte and represent the sixth district in Congress, but I have to beat cancer first. Therefore I must sadly end my campaign, effective immediately.”

More from his statement:

On Christmas Eve I woke up and thought I had suffered a stroke; the left side of my face was paralyzed. After a trip to the emergency room, I learned that a growth was pressing against the nerves in my face, and it had to be removed.

I continued the campaign because the doctors were not sure if the growth was cancerous and there was the possibility that removal would solve the problem. The surgery to remove the growth occurred last week. That’s when I learned how serious this was.

The surgeon told me they got it “just in time”; the growth was cancerous. In the process of removing it, four of the main nerves in my left cheek were severed. It could be months before my facial muscles form new connections and allow me to smile and talk without discomfort.

Yesterday I learned I will need nearly two months of daily radiation treatments in order to make sure the cancer is gone. These treatments will leave me tired and make it difficult to speak or swallow.

Even then, I wanted to continue the campaign. So much work has been done in the last year, and so many relationships formed, that to bow out now would be such a great loss.

But I cannot continue. It will be months before I am able to talk normally, though I may never regain my pre-surgery abilities. I will not have the energy to campaign or even work for at least two months, perhaps longer.

I appreciate so much the support I’ve received in the last year and the opportunity I’ve had to talk about issues that matter to me and matter to the district and our nation: job creation, immigration reform, financial reform, protecting our water from fracking, and a higher minimum wage.

I am one of the lucky ones; I have insurance and an excellent team of doctors. I welcome your prayers as I beat this thing and join the millions who are cancer-free.

All the best,
Bruce