Tag Archives: liver cancer

City Hall Flamingos Support Mayor’s Battle Against Cancer

On Tuesday, September 26, several plastic flamingo lawn ornaments appeared at the back of Burbank City Hall to show support for Mayor Will Rogers who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The plastic flamingos are a nod to Mayor Rogers’ house which he lived in for a number of years when he jokingly crowded his front yard with the lawn ornaments.

His former neighbor Jill Herbertson had the idea to decorate the back of City Hall with the bright pink birds after hearing the announcement of his diagnosis on September 21. Although it has been a decade since they lived in the same neighborhood, Herbertson felt the need to pay tribute to the Mayor as he battles liver cancer and nonalcoholic cirrhosis.

Councilman Bob Frutos said that this declaration from Herbertson and others who have voiced their support for the Mayor represents the city’s “compassion” and “understanding.”

“A lot of people admire him for being willing to commit to public office,” said Councilman Frutos, on the Mayor’s resilience to continue as mayor despite his diagnosis.

Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, who is taking on a few of Mayor Rogers’ responsibilities while he spends some time away from work, sees the kindness expressed by many as a testament to Burbank’s spirit.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“The outpouring from the Burbank community is something I expect: we know each other and like good neighbors do, we support one another,” said Vice-Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

When Rogers first noticed the cliche lawn decorations outside the back of the building, he didn’t immediately make the connection as to what they were doing there. Soon, it was brought to his attention that they were in honor of his service to the community, and represented support from his former neighbor.

(Photo Courtesy Mike Elman)

“I believe that the Mayor would love people to stimulate the conversation about cancer, and making sure your loved ones, once in their 50s, go get tested, and hopefully detect it earlier rather than later,” said Councilman Frutos.

Mayor Rogers is grateful for all the support shown to him as he endures treatment and seeks rest but also urges residents to donate blood and become organ donors to help others in need.

“I have heard Will say ‘give life,’ and I believe it means a lot to him to hear about folks donating blood, signing up to be organ donors and in other ways contributing to health organizations that provide people new beginnings and enhanced survival when they face life-threatening conditions,” said Vice-Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Rogers Diagnosed With Stage 4 Liver Cancer

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

This afternoon, September 20th, a press conference was held at Burbank City Hall by Mayor Will Rogers who announced that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer as well as non-alcoholic cirrhosis, and will be minimizing his mayoral duties.

Mayor Rogers’ diagnosis will affect his attendance at ribbon cutting ceremonies and meetings throughout the city. As he seeks medical treatment, Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy will be stepping into fulfill some of Mayor Rogers’ responsibilities.

“It remains my intent to continue serving as mayor,” Rogers stated. “I simply won’t be attending as many events as I typically do.”

Rogers (60) was elected to the Burbank City Council in May 2015 and was appointed mayor in May 2017. His honorary term as mayor is due to end May 2018.

Previously misdiagnosed four times with cancer, this was the first test to return as positive for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer.

Unfortunately, at this stage, he will not be able to receive a liver transplant or chemotherapy, which are standard treatments. Alternatively, he is currently undergoing immunotherapy and drug trials through a cancer research clinic at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson) File {hoto

“Like every one of us here today, I don’t know if I have another week, or another five weeks,” Rogers said.

Before joining the Burbank City Council, Rogers was an achieved journalist, writing for the Times Community Newspapers which earned him over 20 first-place awards throughout his career.

During the press conference, members of the City Council stood behind Mayor Rogers in support of his decision to take time off.

“It is an extremely courageous act for our Mayor to share his personal challenge with all of us,” Vice-Mayor Gabel-Luddy said. “Mayor Rogers provides Burbank with outstanding service and we know the community, along with Will’s friends and family, will be understanding and supportive.”