Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis Profile SP 2New Arizona State Senator Jerry Lewis is a guest speaker on the program for the Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC) Arizona Centennial Cancer Research Fundraiser at the Arizona Biltmore on Thursday February 2, 2012 from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm.

Senator Jerry Lewis was elected in November 2011 to represent the citizens of Legislative District 18 in the Arizona Legislature. He is presently serving on the following committees in the Senate:

  •  Appropriations
  • Border Security, Federalism and States’ Sovereignty
  • Economic Development and Jobs Creation
  • Education

As an elected official Jerry’s main focus is to work with business, community and education leaders along with his colleagues in the legislature to generate more jobs, create a healthy business environment and educateArizona’s students to achieve their maximum academic potential.

Jerald Hugh Lewis (Jerry) is married to the former Janet Merkley ofLake Oswego,Oregon. They are the parents of 7 beautiful children and 7 incredible and beautiful grandchildren. Jerry was born and raised inLos Angeles,California. He served a two year church mission to Hong KongChinaand then graduated with his bachelors and masters degrees in accounting fromBrighamYoungUniversity. He was a senior tax manager with the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche, chief operating officer for Quorum International, Ltd., teacher with CES, chief executive officer for TJ Development, Inc and is presently serving as the chief executive officer forSequoiaChoiceSchools, LLLP and the Senator from Legislative District 18 inMesa,Arizona. Jerry has served in many church, civic and community organizations and is currently a member of the executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America Grand Canyon Council. He has ran six marathons in the last two years and plans to run the Boston Marathon this coming April.

“Christmas of 1988 was a joyous time for my family as we were able to join “Grandma Dee” at her Santa Susana,Californiahome for the holidays. She had worked diligently for months to insure that the back porch was remodeled and prepared for the advent of the grandchildren…. Old furnishings were removed, fresh paint was applied, windows and doors were repaired, rugs and new furniture were brought in and every imaginable Christmas ornament was hung to create a most festive winter wonderland for her beloved family. Meals were carefully planned to remind us of many fun-filled gatherings we enjoyed as children around the dinner table and no expense was spared as she provided a seemingly endless parade of gifts for her precious grandchildren. Perhaps she sensed that which we could not surmise: this would be our last Christmas with my mother, Delores Marie Davis.

“Although she was only 55 years old she had spent the previous 5 years of her life fighting cancer. At first it was detected in her back. After serious chemo therapy she appeared to be in remission. Nevertheless, a couple years later it reappeared in her breasts. She continued to battle the disease with various surgeries and treatments but the cancer spread to her lungs and finally to her liver and brain.

“I remember an America West flight toLos Angelesto face the moment I had contemplated and dreaded ever since I was 7 or 8 years old. I don’t remember who picked me up from the airport and drove me to the Woodland Hills Kaiser Permanente Hospital. Nevertheless, I arrived by her side very late in the evening. Because I was a close relative, the hospital staff let me in to see her despite the inconvenient hour. She was asleep, breathing somewhat erratically and quite jaundiced. I tried speaking to her but she was completely oblivious to my presence. All I could do was pray. I stayed with her for some time before returning to her house in Simi Valley for some rest.

While there I received a call announcing that my dear wife, Janet, who had remained home in Arizona with our 4 young children, had fainted and collapsed onto our Saltillo tile kitchen floor and seriously injured her head. I immediately caught the last flight out ofLos AngelesforPhoenixand arrived late at night to find that our dear neighbors had Janet resting and our children fed, bathed and tucked into bed. When Janet’s doctor gave clearance the next day, we loaded the family into the van and returned to California.

I arrived very late that night at the hospital with my family but mom was still in a comatose state. We decided to drive on to mom’s house and get some much needed rest. About 10:00 AM that morning we received a call from my sister telling us that mom finally succumbed to the ravages of cancer.

Many times since I have been able to be with and counsel other cancer patients and their loved ones. Many have gone into remission and, happily were able to continue their life’s journey upon this earth. Others have transitioned into their next sphere of existence. As their time has drawn to a close I sometimes would ask “Please say hi to my mom.”

One boy, Jon, a 16 year old student of mine, had been fighting leukemia for about a year. He had stop coming to school about a month prior to my visit this particular day. When I arrived at his house I found him playing around his back yard with 2 of his close friends. He had some electric shears he was using to shave the head of one of the boys so that he could be like Jon. They played as if nothing was wrong. After a few minutes of frivolity, Jon started to cough, stopped in front of his trampoline, put his right hand on the door jam of their garage and slowly slunk down while we held him up. He coughed up some blood and then died in our arms.

It always seemed harder when the patients were young. But then, it wasn’t much easier when they were older, I guess. I’ve learned so much from the survivors, those who succumbed and the families of both. It’s never easy. Thankfully, treatment has improved in the 21 years since my mom died and more people are beating cancer. Yet, there is so much more that can and must be done to save the lives of the many who will yet encounter the ravages of this pernicious illness. We have conquered so many terminal diseases in the past: with continued research we will be able to conquer this one as well.

News Articles about Senator Jerry Lewis:

Lewis Takes Oath, Replacing Pearce in Senate

Jerry Lewis, New Arizona State Senator, says Pearce Loss sends a message to GOP

Russell Pearce’s Nemesis Jerry Lewis Sworn In as Arizona State Senator