Northcenter Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrett FitzGerald announced Tuesday he has been diagnosed with a Stage IV brain tumor. His doctors at Rush University Medical Center determined the tumor is inoperable because of its location around a speech center in his brain. Mr. FitzGerald is expected to begin an extremely aggressive 6-week course of radiation and chemotherapy within the next few days.
“It’s a tough hand I’ve been dealt here,” said Mr. FitzGerald. “But I’m going to fight this with everything I’ve got.” He reports to be otherwise in very good health, which his doctors have told him will be very helpful during his treatment.
“Our prayers and good thoughts are with Garrett during this extremely difficult time.” said Northcenter Chamber President Maribel Selva. “Our main goal is to stay positive.” Indeed, Ms. Selva’s sentiments of support have been echoed from many of Mr. FitzGerald’s friends and colleagues.
In addition to his role as Northcenter Chamber Executive Director, Mr. FitzGerald was appointed to the Illinois Civil Service Commission in May 2012. “I know Garrett and he is a fighter,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “He will face this challenge and prevail with our thoughts and prayers.”
Dr. Teresa Garate is the president of Neumann Family Services, a nonprofit leader in services for adults with disabilities where Mr. FitzGerald is on the Board of Directors. “We are encouraged by Garrett’s courage and determination to fight with everything he has,” she said. “When he accepted the nomination to our board in August 2010, Garrett’s leadership allowed the board to move forward when he agreed to serve as interim Chairman of the Board during the search for a new CEO.”
“Garrett is a community leader and dear friend,” said 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar. “Under his leadership, the Northcenter Chamber has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to community organizations and schools while ensuring the Chamber is a financially sustainable organization. The 47th ward is a better place because of Garrett and I am honored to call him my friend.”
Over his many years of volunteer leadership, Mr. FitzGerald served on the Bell Elementary Local School Council, St. Benedict High School Board of Directors and he is currently the 4th Congressional District Representative on the Citizens Utility Board.
Mr. FitzGerald has committed to all of his organizations that he will stay on and continue to do good work. “There are a lot of fights out there,” he said. “And as I go through this thing, I intend to fight not just for myself, but for them as well.”