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Radcliff councilman discloses cancer diagnosis

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Don Shaw undergoes first chemotherapy treatment

By Marty Finley

Radcliff Councilman Don Shaw has a fight on his hands but said he has put his full faith and trust in God to protect him.

Shaw has been diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy Wednesday. He announced his diagnosis during Radcliff City Council’s monthly voting meeting Tuesday night at city hall.

Shaw said doctors discovered blood in a stool sample in December he submitted during semi-annual testing. Raising concerns, a colonoscopy immediately was scheduled, which found colon cancer. Shaw said a subsequent full-body scan also found traces of cancer in his liver.

“I’m in what they call stage four,” he said.

Shaw said his doctors wanted to schedule surgery to remove the colon cancer but the liver cancer called for immediate attention. The surgery, he said, would have prohibited doctors from treating the liver for roughly a month.

Shaw told the council he plans to continue his duties to the city through his treatment if his health permits.

“I want to continue serving this council and pushing Radcliff forward,” he said.

Shaw’s therapy requires him to undergo two eight-hour chemo sessions every two weeks for a three-month period, he said. Once finished, another body scan will be performed to determine if the chemotherapy is working or if the medication must be adjusted, he said.

Doctors have assured him the disease is treatable, pointing to patients in similar condition who still are living five to seven years after diagnosis.

“Obviously, if it’s not working, you don’t have any chance,” he said. “But we have a man upstairs who watches out for all of us, and I put my faith in him.”

Shaw said he expects some of the side effects of the treatment to affect his abilities and his appearance, cautioning his constituents.

“If I’m able to continue on the council, I will probably lose my hair, but these are (things) we don’t know yet,” he said. “We just take it a day at a time.”

Shaw’s announcement left several council members in tears, and those in the chambers provided a hearty round of applause for the soft-spoken lawmaker as a sign of support.

He said he appreciated everyone’s prayers and was touched by the warmth and love he felt during the announcement.

Councilman Don Yates, the longest tenured member of the body, described Shaw’s inherent toughness, ability to overcome past obstacles and military background as sources of strength.

“You can bet on it that whatever you need, this government will be there to help you,” Yates said, which triggered the applause for Shaw as the council wished him well.

Shaw finished his eighth year as a councilman last year after returning in 2010. He was ousted by small business owner Jerry Brown during a 2008 election.

He narrowly edged former Councilman Jack Holland for the sixth seat on the council during the November 2012 election, winning another two year-term.

Shaw spoke to The News-Enterprise following his first eight-hour session and said he was feeling good with no nausea or lingering effects. He described the chemo as a “scientific operation. I just hope it works.”

During the council meeting, he described his outlook as optimistic.

“I’ve been a positive person my whole life,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.