The political airwaves are full of analysis and re-analysis of John and Elizabeth Edwards’ announcement. As a political consultant and as a husband I have seen first hand the effects of cancer in a household and in a headquarters.

A candidate for the Senate I once worked for was confronted, just before her announcement, with the news that her husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and he had to have an operation. He was adamant, as he was wheeled in
for the surgery, that she continue the campaign. She did just that. My guess is that Elizabeth Edwards was equally strong and resolute about her husband’s campaign and that she convinced him that she would be miserable if he dropped out.

It is a window on a couple’s character to watch them deal with this most personal of decisions and to exemplify courage, compassion, humor and, most important, love for one another. The Edwardses are a team and they will take on these battles, just as they have dealt with others in their lives. Americans want to see their candidates for president up close and personal – there is nothing more personal than what they are going through.

One in seven women in America will come down with breast cancer in their lifetime. When it hits a family it is more than a statistic, it is a struggle for survival. My wife and Elizabeth Edwards have the same attitude – a continual feeling of how fortunate they are to have close friends, family, and the very best of medical care. Life has been full, and full of joy, and you can’t help but be in awe when you see the smiles on the faces of John and Elizabeth Edwards.