Local News

Fayetteville Mayor Does Not Let Cancer Affect His Leadership

Posted January 10, 1999

— Fighting cancer is never an easy battle. But one city leader is doing just that while still running the day-to-day operations of the city.

This is Fayetteville Mayor J.L. Dawkins' third battle against prostate cancer. This time, his treatment has been more aggressive.

Even with chemotherapy as part of his monthly routine, his routine as mayor has stayed consistent.

"Number one, I guess I am just excited to be here," said Dawkins.

It has been a difficult struggle, but Dawkins will not let cancer get him down. He has cut back his public appearances, but he still comes to the office every day.

And recently, he sat through a four hour long council meeting for the first time in several weeks.

"It's important to be needed whether it's a city council member or the city manager who says 'I want to run this by you.' That fires you up to still be needed. That has a lot to do with the attitude of getting better," explained Dawkins.

Dawkins' prostate cancer has spread through his bones. The 63-year-old was in constant pain, but halfway through his chemotherapy treatments, he says his side effects have been minimal.

He was hospitalized once for dehydration but has since gained back 20 pounds and has started driving again. His colleagues are amazed at his perseverance.

"I've always admired him in the stands he takes, the leadership he gives. I think this is one more example. It really makes you proud to be his friend," said Roger Stancil, Fayetteville City Manager.

It is a personal struggle made easier by the support he receives from others. He says the prayers and cards have been overwhelming.

"It's really like you are in a tough ball game, and everyone is cheering for you. I really feel like every day I wake up is a blessing," said Dawkins.

This is the last year of the mayor's sixth term. He says if he feels as good as he does now, he will consider running again, but ultimately he says it will be a decision made by himself, his family and his doctors.

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