Even while “battling for his life” in hospital, Councillor Rob Ford’s mind is on politics.
“It’s in his blood,” said brother Doug Ford of the former mayor, who is valiantly fighting cancer.
There have been recent setbacks, Doug said.
“Rob is back in Mount Sinai,” Doug Ford first told me Tuesday night on my final Late Shift show on Newstalk 1010.
On Wednesday afternoon, Doug stopped by to see his younger brother in the cancer ward.
“He is in one hell of a battle, let me tell you,” said Doug. “It’s tough.”
Sitting in a hospital room can leave a guy feeling blue, and Doug said he had to remind Rob about all the people who care about him.
“It’s unbelievable how many times a day I get asked about Rob. He doesn’t believe me, but everywhere I go that is the first question I get. We do appreciate all of the well wishes.”
That very question came up on the Late Shift from singer Jenny James who — with her guitar player, Geoff Hlipka — was in to perform for my final show.
“How is Rob, Doug?” asked the “Mayor Ford (The World Will Remember)” singer, while she was on my show with co-host Ross McLean and Don Cherry.
Not sugar-coating it, Doug was candid.
“He is in a real fight.”
Unfortunately, there’s more to worry about than the side effects of the latest round of chemotherapy — administered to fight a reoccurring set of malignant tumours in his bladder and surrounding area.
“The problem is — with this disease — there is no cure,” said Doug.
It’s possible Rob Ford will undergo a second massive operation to remove the new tumours — similar to one he already went through. But, Doug said, the family is also looking for alternatives to surgery.
“We are calling all over the United States and looking at every kind of trial we can find,” said Doug. “We are talking to doctors everywhere. We have found some research happening with mice and things like that.”
What they are hoping for is the start of a clinical trial for this type of pleomorphic liposarcoma, which is an usual cancer that doctors have called “aggressive.”
In the meantime, said Doug, Rob can expect more chemotherapy.
It has been “knocking the hell” out of 46-year-old Rob, but it is something that allows him to continue to keep fighting so he can be around for his wife and two young children.
Rob Ford is unhappy about having to miss council business as “he is just not in good enough shape right now to do that,” Doug said.
The former mayor has even been quiet on Twitter. At deadline, his last tweet was Feb. 26.
However, even from Mount Sinai on Wednesday, Rob was urging Doug to run provincially as part of Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown’s team to fight Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade initiative and other things.
“I am eyeing it for sure, but I am not ready to make an announcement,” said Doug. “Still, I would like to help Patrick, who I predict will be Ontario’s next premier.”
But first things first.
“We are focusing on Rob and his battle,” Doug said.
On my show Tuesday night, Rev. Charles McVety said a prayer in which he asked God for help in healing Rob.
“It was very touching that he did that,” said Doug. “All prayers are appreciated.”
And, all prayers are needed.
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