NORTH OLMSTED -- Last 4th of July, while all of us were celebrating our country's independence, North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy was losing his.
The mayor said, "I just had a horrible fever. It was 103 or 104. I had sweats, I was dizzy, I knew something was wrong."
The mayor checked into Fairview Hospital where an MRI showed he had a staph infection on his spine. He was rushed into emergency surgery to save his life.
The surgery was successful, but then came the next hurdle. Doctors gave the mayor only a ten percent chance of walking again.
That's where the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute came in. They work with 900 patients a year. The mayor went through intense rehab for three hours a day. While learning to walk again, he ran the city and held meetings from his hospital room.
Seven months later, he conquered one mountain and went skiing at Lake Tahoe. Now he's always on the go, attending this luncheon and running into old friends.
And if you want to see what is driving this mayor on his road to recovery, just look at the wall of his office, and see the smiles of his four children.
The mayor said, "As you're laying there staring death in the eye, you realize the most important thing you hand down to your kids is your character and your values and in order to do that, you need to be around. So there's no way in the world I was going to let them down."
The mayor says he kept this as a secret so the entire city would not be worried about what was going on at city hall. Now his goal is to run for re-election this fall, and maybe run 5K and 10K races down the road.