Mecklenburg County commissioner Neil Cooksey, who entered hospice more than a month ago, said he and his family are “hanging in there ... I’m still here today.”
Cooksey celebrated his birthday July 25 with some friends at Lupie’s Cafe in Huntersville. He said he is “getting as much nutrition as I can,” and he’s being made comfortable, making sure his pain is minimized.
Cooksey, a Republican who has served as a county commissioner since 2008, said he in unsure whether he’ll be attending Tuesday’s meeting.
“I probably plan to not go, but if I feel great and my day opens up, I may go,” he said. “We all live each day one day at a time.”
And though stepping down “is always on the back of my mind,” Cooksey said he has “no current plans to step aside.”
He added, “There are certain issues that if I felt … it was going to be a tie-breaking vote, I would haul myself down there so I could vote on them.”
The 51-year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2010. Cooksey later announced that he was cancer-free, though he said recently he was diagnosed with an ailment that hurt his body’s ability to take in nutrients. He underwent surgery in mid-June.
In late June, Cooksey announced that he was discontinuing treatment for recent health complications and would enter hospice. Treatments to clear blockages in his intestinal system and prevent bleeding have been ineffective so far, Cooksey said in his announcement, which was made through a family friend.
He was greeted with a standing ovation from commissioners and the audience at the last county commissioners’ meeting on July 3.
Cooksey is the final months of his second term as District 5 commissioner, and said earlier this year he would not seek re-election in November. The candidates for that race are Democrat Paula Harvey and Republican Matthew Ridenhour.
In a phone interview with an Observer reporter last week, Cooksey weighed in on issues such as studying political consolidation of the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments.
“There’s no support for it – other than the mayor, maybe a few city councilmen. There’s no sense talking about it at the county-commission level,” said Cooksey, who would vote “no” on a study on consolidation.