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Published: Friday, 8/31/2007

Youngest mayor in America when elected, Hillsdale's Sessions treated for testicular cancer

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Sessions Sessions
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DETROIT - Hillsdale's young mayor said Friday he is being treated for testicular cancer that was discovered around the time he faced a recall campaign - which eventually was dropped - over his computer pranks.

Michael Sessions, 19, said he underwent surgery July 30 to remove a mass on a testicle and expects to have surgery again Sept. 11 to help doctors determine whether the cancer has spread.

"It was very, very emotional for me," Sessions told The Associated Press. "It's been a very trying time for me and my family."

Sessions became the city's youngest mayor when he was elected as a write-in candidate in November 2005 at 18. He said he plans to continue his work as mayor as his treatment continues.

Sessions discussed his diagnosis and treatment earlier Friday in an interview broadcast on Hillsdale radio station WCSR.

"The obstacles and criticisms I have faced in the last couple years now seem quite minor," he said. "This has really put it all in perspective."

Sessions said he noticed a lump July 24 and went to a doctor July 27, the same day efforts to remove him were dropped following a WCSR interview that the recall leader said showed the mayor was sorry about his actions.

Authorities say Sessions deleted MySpace and Facebook accounts belonging to ex-campaign manager Brandon Thomas, as well as posing as someone else to send out disparaging e-mail messages about Thomas.

Following his surgery, Sessions said he couldn't walk for about a week. He said he looked pale while attending city council meetings and had been more difficult to contact for the past month.

"I wanted to make sure that people knew what was going on with me," Sessions said.

When Michael Sessions was 18 he quickly became an international icon after winning a write in campaign over the 51-year-old incumbent, for mayor of the City of Hillsdale, Michigan.

What had been a quiet community of 8,230 quickly became a destination for reporters from throughout the world. Television crews from Mexico, Japan, and Russia along with national media were present at the swearing in of the youngest mayor in America, possibly the world.

He appeared on Letterman, the Today Show, and was parodied on Saturday Night Live all within four days of the election. His appearances since have been on the Montel Williams Show, Judge Hatchett, and The Ellen Show. Along, with appearances in major magazines such as People and Seventeen.

He s also been the keynote speaker at several events around the country.

Hillsdale, a city of 8,200, is located about 85 miles west-southwest of Detroit.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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