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Now cancer-free, Dorothy Hukill says, ‘I’m back’

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After being pronounced cancer-free earlier this year, state Sen. Dorothy Hukill says she “feel(s) great” and already is “excited” to return to Tallahassee for next year’s Legislative Session.

She’s also back in the saddle in her district. The Port Orange Republican’s schedule is packed this week: There’s a grand-opening event for a Titusville space-supplies firm, a speech at the Titusville Chamber of Commerce, and post-Legislative Session round-ups before the Lake Helen City Commission and at the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce.

And as early as next week, the Port Orange City Council could vote on a proposal to rename the city’s old police department to the “Dorothy Hukill Annex” to honor Hukill, a former Port Orange mayor.

“I am back,” she said Monday. “Through the grace of God, friends and family, a great medical team, and a great Senate family, I am feeling wonderful.”

In November, Hukill disclosed that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. She missed the 2017 Legislative Session while she was undergoing treatment.

“I am fortunate that it (is) in the early stages and my medical team advises that my prognosis for full recovery is good,” she wrote in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron.

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, “if detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.”

Not being in Tallahassee didn’t mean she stopped working, Hukill added, saying she continued to oversee her district offices, Capitol staff and committee responsibilities remotely.

Finally, this March, Hukill told Negron that “tests show no remaining cancer” and her doctors were “optimistic for a cancer-free full recovery.”

Hukill said she was surprised at the support she got, not only from those she knew, but from strangers who also dealt with cancer.

“It’s amazing to hear from people who have gone through what I have, to offer to talk about their own experience, or even just to say, ‘Let me know how I can help,’ ” she said.

“Being a survivor transcends your background, your politics,” Hukill added. “One of the things you learn is that it’s a very special community.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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