Bay Harbor Islands Councilwoman Doris Marano was so committed to serving her tiny town that despite an arduous battle with lung cancer she filed to run for reelection.
But her health has taken a turn for the worse — only days before Tuesday’s vote.
On Sunday, longtime friend Kathleen Kennedy said that Marano, who quietly battled the disease for a year, was transferred to hospice care the day before and her condition was grave.
“She went into hospice yesterday, and she’s not doing well,” said Kennedy, who confirmed Marano’s condition to the Miami Herald. “She’s so amazing, and she’s in so much pain.”
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Kennedy said she took Marano, 62, to her radiation treatments, while promising to keep her illness a secret, according to Marano’s wishes. Town hall officials were generally unaware of Marano’s sickness.
Amid an election season, Marano did not publicly disclose her illness, but town officials grew concerned in March, when Marano was hospitalized and unable to attend a Town Council meeting and a forum for council candidates. But she never formally withdrew from the race.
“We were told she had pneumonia and had to go to hospital,” Town Manager Ron Wasson said Sunday. “And she had to stay longer than expected.”
Marano, who was elected in 2015 to finish the remaining term of a council member who resigned, is one of four candidates on the ballot for Tuesday’s election, in which voters will fill two council seats. Among the four candidates, the two highest vote getters will be elected.
Given the nature of Marano’s condition, town officials have reviewed procedures for what would happen if Marano were elected and unable to serve. According to the town charter, the person with the next highest votes would be sworn in.
Fellow Council member Stephanie Bruder told the Herald she couldn’t comment on Marano’s health because it was a family matter, but she hoped for the best.
“We’re all praying for a speedy recovery,” she said.
Kennedy, who spent time with Marano on Saturday and planned to visit her again Sunday, spoke to Marano’s quiet strength throughout her treatment.
“Every month, she would sit on that council in pain,” she said.