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Former Rep. Ruth Samuelson diagnosed with stage 4 cancer: ‘God’s got me in his hands’

Rep. Ruth Samuelson, pictured here in 2013, said Wednesday that she has stage 4 cancer.
Rep. Ruth Samuelson, pictured here in 2013, said Wednesday that she has stage 4 cancer. cseward@newsobserver.com

Former N.C. Rep. Ruth Samuelson has stage 4 ovarian cancer, the longtime Charlotte political leader said Wednesday.

Samuelson said tests confirmed her condition Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Rep. Craig Horn, a Weddington Republican, announced the diagnosis on the House floor with Samuelson’s permission and asked for his colleagues’ prayers.

“Our faith is so strong,” Samuelson said. “My husband Ken said, you know, your 1,000-year and million-year plans have not changed. It’s just the next few years that will change.

“I believe God’s got me in his hands, regardless of how this turns out.”

The couple has four adult children and three grandchildren.

Samuelson, a Republican elected to the House in 2006, was a leader in the legislature before choosing in 2013 not to run for a fifth term representing south Charlotte.

At the time, she said that a continued political career would take too much time from other passions, “philanthropy, faith and family.”

As a lawmaker and Mecklenburg County commissioner from 2000 to 2004, she is known as a friend of the environment with conservative views on issues such as abortion.

Samuelson, 56, said a CT scan before Memorial Day detected a mass on her liver. A biopsy on Monday confirmed the advanced cancer.

She will start chemotherapy next week in an effort to shrink the masses enough to remove them. Updates on her condition are at the CaringBridge website.

Horn said he became friends with Samuelson soon after he entered the House in 2011 and moved into office space she had once occupied. He said she decided to disclose her illness publicly rather than allow rumors to spread.

“Ruth is a very strong woman, a very positive individual,” he said. “If there’s any person who can beat this, she’s on that list. She sounded like she was ready for a fight.”

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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