Danville's Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) announced Thursday that he has been battling leukemia since last year, saying he has responded well to treatment and he continues to eye re-election to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Last summer, I was diagnosed with the most common leukemia in the world, a cancer named chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)," DeSaulnier, 64, said in a statement. "I recently completed aggressive chemotherapy. I feel fortunate that I had a positive response to this treatment, and that neither CLL nor the treatment impacted my professional work."
The freshman congressman, who is on the June primary ballot to again represent 11th District, said he hopes sharing the story of his leukemia diagnosis and treatment will "add my voice to the growing number of people fighting cancer and the other chronic conditions so many families confront."
"While CLL cannot currently be completely cured, incredible breakthroughs, medical advancements and cutting-edge therapies are allowing it to be managed over a lifetime," he added. "As a result of these developments, there are approximately 1.2 million Americans, like myself, living long, full lives with blood cancer."
DeSaulnier said his cancer battle has had little impact on his ability to perform his congressional duties effectively.
"I have been able to go home every weekend, except one, logging over 170,000 miles flown, held 14 town halls, had meetings with thousands of constituents and maintained a 99.1% voting average in my first session of Congress," he added.
DeSaulnier has nearly 25 years of public service experience in Contra Costa County, starting in the Concord City Council before moving to the county's Board of Supervisors and later the California State Assembly.
He was in his sixth year as a state senator when voters in the 11th District (which includes Danville) elected him as their new congressman in November 2014, winning the seat that was up for grabs after 20-term U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) announced his retirement.
DeSaulnier eyes a second term in Congress this election cycle, with the primary set for next month and the general election to follow in November. "I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district, and do so stronger and with a better understanding having faced this experience," he added.