Politics & Government

Senate President Susan Wagle asks for prayers after daughter’s cancer diagnosis

Senate President Susan Wagle, a cancer survivor, told fellow lawmakers that her daughter has been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.
Senate President Susan Wagle, a cancer survivor, told fellow lawmakers that her daughter has been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. File photo

Senate President Susan Wagle, a cancer survivor, told fellow lawmakers on Wednesday that her daughter has been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.

Wagle, R-Wichita, tearfully recounted to her Senate colleagues how she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1995, while she was a member of the Kansas House.

She credited the prayers she received from fellow lawmakers and people around the state for helping her survive. She asked her colleagues to now do the same for her 34-year-old daughter, Julia Scott, whose multiple myeloma was diagnosed a month ago.

Scott, a physician who lives in Lawrence, has four children with her husband, Riley Scott, a lobbyist. Their youngest child is 6 months old.

“We’re very confident with prayers that she will live and she will raise those children,” Wagle said.

Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in bone marrow, crowding out healthy blood cells and preventing the creation of antibodies, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Wagle said it is rare for someone as young as her daughter to develop this type of cancer and that she is seeking to be admitted to a clinical trial at Washington University in St. Louis for a new form of treatment.

Wagle’s son, Paul, survived a long bout with leukemia after it was diagnosed in 2001.

“As she’s seeing all these doctors, she tells them about her mother’s history with non-Hodgkin’s, and they’re shocked that I’m alive. Absolutely shocked,” Wagle said. “And then we tell her that her brother, Paul, also had leukemia, another blood cancer … and then they say, ‘There’s something wrong here.’ This is a total statistical anomaly. Blood cancer is very rare.”

Wagle underwent another fight with cancer in 2012, the year she spearheaded a conservative takeover of the Senate and was elevated to the presidency.

Wagle said the family has agreed to undergo genetic testing.

She thinks the multiple cancers may be related to an incident in the 1980s when her family’s home was declared a toxic waste dump by the Kansas Department of Agriculture after an exterminator improperly sprayed a pesticide in their home.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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