No one could be prepared for this type of news. Not in Ald. Robert Fioretti’s wildest dreams could he ever have imagined such an unexpected road block. A detour that would take him out of the race for a position he has waited his whole political career for: the office of mayor of Chicago.
Sadly, Ald. Robert Fioretti’s (2nd) dreams of becoming mayor of the nation’s third largest city have been dashed. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 of cancer and underwent an immediate tonsillectomy on Oct. 20. Needless to say, supporters and friends of the alderman were shocked and riveted.
It is perhaps a twist of fate that no one saw or contemplated coming. Moving full steam ahead with his plans to be the next big city mayor, Fioretti had already collected an impressive 30,000 signatures on his mayoral nomination petition, the first main step required to enter the race.
Not a smoker or a big drinker, Fioretti, 57, had a nagging sore throat that would not go away. This was his warning sign something was awry, which prompted him to see his physician. Soon after seeing a specialist, the alderman was told he had cancer.
“It’s tough words to hear. No one wants to hear that you’re a member of a club that nobody wants to be a member of. But I’m not the only one who has faced this illness…I’m not afraid of the fight,” Fioretti bravely proclaimed.
Fioretti has also received commitments for $2.5 million in campaign contributions. The leader of the 2nd Ward will also decline to run for re-election as alderman but will continue to work campaigning for others.
With this new announcement expect to see a cast of candidates come out to vie for his position. The list could be long since most will be on equal footing come February 2011 with no incumbent to have to unseat. This mayoral, aldermanic election seems to be the “election of fresh meat.” New faces. New opportunity. Sans incumbents. Now, that’s a sweet melody to a potential candidate’s ears.
Dr. Steven DeAngelis, a general internist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital indicated that Fioretti has a rare form of squamous cell cancer. The disease most likely is the result of a genetic pre-disposition, or perhaps environmental factors.
Fioretti will begin seven weeks of radiation, followed by chemotherapy, which will commence during Thanksgiving week. His prognosis is very good.
Mayor Daley offered his support of Fioretti saying, “cancer has inflicted so many people…[We’ll] make sure we pray for him and his recovery.” Our mayor knows all-too-well about the battle cancer poses. His wife Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002.
In the meantime, Fioretti, who has downed a lot of good old chicken soup, is back to eating solids again. His voice will be temporarily weak, but he will continue to push forward, checking on projects in his ward, assisting his constituents. All of Chicago will be praying and wishing for his speedy recovery.