Brad Ball, Associate Director of the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce made the announcement at the monthly chamber lunch today that executive director Garrett FitzGerald had been diagnosed with an inoperable stage 4 brain tumor.
The usual chatter in the room died, leaving silence.
Garrett, he said, would be starting an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy starting within the next few days.
Some of the people seated nearby had not even learned yet of Garrett’s illness. It had come on suddenly about 12 days ago. Garrett had complained of speech issues. Then a visit to the ER, fearing a stroke, led to worse news.
A tumor was discovered in Garrett’s brain. Surgery was scheduled and performed. That was a week ago on Tuesday.
Over the weekend Garrett was on Facebook and was taken to breakfast with his dad. At the Bulldog we breathed a sigh of relief.
Then, this afternoon, we learned that again the medical diagnosis was leaning against Garrett.
I am a person of faith. Garrett’s enthusiasm for the neighborhood, his infectious personality and generous nature are assets beyond measure. We had considered a man of the year award several times. Garrett was the leading candidate for the first award.
His activities beat out Ald. Ameya Pawar’s election victory in 2010 in our opinion. His activities influence how our neighborhood schools perform, the vitality of our business district and the care of our children in programs such as Concordia, Pilgrim and the Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
Garrett was also leading the interest in Neumann Family Services, a program that assists adults with disabilities. He joined their board and held a party that raised hundreds of dollars for Neumann.
We didn’t give Garrett that award. We never started that series.
We are praying for Garrett’s recovery. He has it in him to take that award for 2013. And this time we won’t make the mistake of thinking there will be a next year. Because we are fragile creations and do not know the future.