Lawmakers rally around Rep. Lois DeBerry as she battles cancer

Lawmakers rally around Rep. Lois DeBerry as she battles cancer (Image 1)

Prayers are being said on Tennessee's Capitol Hill for one of its trailblazing lawmakers.
Those who know Rep. Lois DeBerry say she plans to be back for the end of this year's legislative session.

The 67-year-old Memphis Democratic is being treated again for recurrence of pancreatic cancer.

She is the longest serving current member of the House after being elected in 1972 and was the Chamber's first female Speaker Pro Tempore.

DeBerry was first diagnosed with the cancer in 2009, but last November told Nashville's News 2 that she had “gone into remission” a year earlier then “it came about three months ago and then three weeks ago it was gone again, so I am just so excited.”

At the time, she was being honored by Republican Bill Haslam as he proclaimed last November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in Tennessee.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner told Nashville's News 2 on Wednesday that “for the most part she has beat it. She is still weak and has been in the hospital, but we are hoping that she is going to be home this weekend, and we hope she gets back up here before we get out session next week.”

Rep. Turner added that “she has stared this down and looks like she is going to be okay. It will mean a lot to get her back up here.”

House Republican Speaker Beth Harwell has appointed Memphis Democrat Karen Camper to serve on the chamber's key finance committee during DeBerry's illness.

Rep. DeBerry has missed several days in the past week of legislative for the cancer treatment.

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