Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by The Press in Opinion

Coming together to support a colleague

The world was rocked July 19 when it was announced Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had been diagnosed with a primary brain tumor known as glioblastoma following a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.

“The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation,” according to a statement by Mayo Clinic released July 19.

Experts took to television, radio and social media to diagnose and debate McCain’s condition, next steps and estimate the time he has left.

Did McCain, his wife and his children watch the coverage and listen to experts say he didn’t have long to live?

Fast forward to July 20 when all talk of McCain’s condition evaporated as the highly anticipated parole hearing for O.J. Simpson was aired live from Nevada.

Yes, I watched from St. Luke’s Hospital while my husband was having some tests done. I don’t think you are allowed to change the hospital television stations, so I had no choice.

After the decision, Simpson’s parole and statement, “I’ve basically lived a conflict-free life,” was debated on those same avenues.

McCain’s situation was on the back burner until July 22, when Dr. Kelli Ward, a Republican candidate running against Rep. Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018 in Arizona, urged McCain to resign because of his brain cancer diagnosis, according to an article written by Phil McCausland of NBC News.

Ward, in speaking to an Indiana radio station said “she would be a strong choice to replace the senator.”

In another interview with the radio station, Ward thanked the radio station for the controversy.

“I thank you guys in the media for making it about me,” she said on KTAR. “You’re increasing my name ID and spreading the word.”

Although Ward has not consulted with McCain or his doctors, she went on to give her expertise on the subject to NBC News.

“Senator McCain and his family have a lot of hard decisions to make,” she added in the statement. “As a doctor, I’ve counseled patients in similar situations, and these end-of-life choices are never easy. I usually advise terminal patients to reduce stress, relax and spend time laughing with loved ones.”

Fortunately, not everyone has an agenda like Ward.

What I heard was Republicans and Democrats putting aside health care, Russian investigations and political shenanigans to support a respected colleague.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., critically injured recently during a shooting at a congressional baseball practice took to social media to say, “Praying for my friend ... one of the toughest people I know.”

President Donald Trump said, “Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers...”

Vice President Mike Pence said, “Cancer picked on the wrong guy ... McCain is a fighter, and he’ll win this fight, too. God bless!”

Former President Barack Obama said, “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted, “As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.”

Former President George W. Bush called McCain and issued a statement, saying, “I called Senator John McCain this morning to wish him well and encourage him in his fight. Instead, he encouraged me. I was impressed by his spirit and determination. He has devoted his life to his country. Thankfully, he is committed to continuing that service.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it best: “This disease has never had a more worthy opponent.”

Putting aside politics and supporting a colleague gives me hope for the future. It is unfortunate it takes a cancer diagnosis to do so.

And aside from a small few who have political aspirations for McCain’s job, I hope everyone continues to surround the McCain family with support during this time of uncertainty.

McCain spent five-and-a-half years in captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The man is a fighter.

Everyone needs to come together in a time of crisis.

Negativity has no place in McCain’s treatment plan.

Debbie Galbraith


East Penn Press

Salisbury Press