Mayor Kelly: I Have Stage 4 Cancer, Will Fight With Everything I Have

6-9-15 Meeting4

Mayor Chris Kelly told a stunned audience June 9 that he is fighting cancer.

Mayor Chris Kelly is fighting Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a blood-borne cancer that attacks a body’s immune system.

Kelly announced his condition at the June 9 Township Council meeting, stunning fellow council members.

The mayor said that he started chemotherapy on June 5, and will undergo treatments every 21 days.

“We’re hoping to be done by mid-Octorber,” he said.

“It was a very aggressive chemotherapy, so thankfully I am fighting this with everything I have,” Kelly said. “I have a very good team of doctors based right here in Franklin. We’re looking for a full recovery.”

Kelly said he went to his doctor about three weeks ago after experience some undisclosed issues. The doctor could not find anything, so referred him to a specialist, Kelly said.

“Ten days ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,” he said. “It’s treatable and I have a very good prognosis.”

Kelly said that in upcoming months, “some of you may notice that I fit in more with some of the people up here missing hair, and I will look a little more disheveled.”

Kelly said that he decided to announce his illness because “I wanted to be up-front and open about it.”

“I plan to work without any interruption,” he said. “If there is any interruption, I will make sure and let everybody know and we’ll make decisions as they come up.”

Township Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), told Kelly that he has “the thoughts and prayers of me and, I’m confident form all of the council members.”

Vassanella said Kelly should “feel free to call on us” for help.

“Good luck to you,” he said.

Kelly, a Republican, is a pastry chef and food scientist for a township-based food ingredients manufacturer. He was chosen by the Township Council earlier this year to fill out the one-year unexpired term of former Mayor Brian Levine. Levine is now a Somerset County Freeholder.

Kelly will face off in November against Township Councilman Phil Kramer (D-Ward 3) in the mayoral race.


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