Maryland Governor Says He's 'Cancer-Free'

by | November 17, 2015

By Erin Cox

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday he is "100 percent cancer free."

The governor held a news conference after a PET scan Monday morning showed the six rounds of chemotherapy treatment he underwent this summer had eradicated all of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma doctors found in June.

Hogan's voice cracked with emotion several times during his remarks as he thanked his family, other cancer patients and complete strangers for their support.

"My hair will start to grow back," Hogan said. "Before you know it, I'll be back to 110 percent."

Amid treatment in August, Hogan said a scan showed 95 percent of the cancer had been killed. Monday's scan, he said, meant the cancer that had progressed to stage 3 is now in remission.

"This report couldn't be any better ... However, it does not mean that I'm cured," Hogan said, pointing out that cancer could return. The new Republican governor announced in June that doctors found 60 tumors in his lymph system after he sought treatment for a golf ball-sized lump in his neck.

Hogan curbed his public appearances while undergoing treatment, but continued to work full time and conduct state business from his hospital room at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

He did not, however, always follow doctors' orders. He joked Monday about how his medical team would chide him after seeing his Facebook page full of images of the governor shaking hands and hugging strangers.

Hogan forged friendships with other patients who, he said, didn't see him as a governor. One of them is 5-year-old Andrew Oberle, who offered the governor tips on how to deal with chemotherapy and quickly became his pen pal. Andrew and his mother were in Annapolis Monday for Hogan's news conference.

Afterward, Andrew told reporters he had not told anyone else in his kindergarten class that he had struck up a friendship with Hogan. "I made it top secret," he said.

In response to a reporter's question, Hogan said he never considered resigning, saying "I never even really slowed down," but said he at times trimmed an 18-hour work day to just 8 hours.

He brushed off questions about whether he would seek re-election, saying that decision was "way" down the road. But he announced he would remain committed to cancer awareness and fundraising for the cause. His website, Hoganstrong.com, promises to donate all proceeds from the sale of "HoganStrong" T-shirts to charities that support cancer research and the families of cancer patients.

The governor said such work is his "new calling."

The news of Hogan's remission drew a standing ovation from a room packed with his family members, staff and Cabinet secretaries. Hogan's frequent critic and sparring partner, Democratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch, released a statement calling the announcement "great news."

Since Hogan's chemotherapy treatment ended in October, he has increased his public appearances and on Tuesday plans to fly to Las Vegas to give a keynote speech at the Republican Governors Association meeting.

"We didn't miss a beat," Hogan said. "Can you imagine what we can get done in the next five months?"

(c)2015 The Baltimore Sun