Less than a year into his first term as Clark County’s top prosecutor, Tony Golik said Wednesday he has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer.
Fortunately, Golik said his prognosis as a 44-year-old, otherwise healthy person looks positive. He doesn’t expect to take a leave of absence when he begins treatment next month.
“I don’t plan for it to affect how I do my job,” Golik said. “I foresee charging ahead.”
Golik said he was set to begin chemotherapy Oct. 3, which would run for six months. However, he received a phone call from his doctor Wednesday morning about a less debilitating form of treatment: antibody therapy. This is a drug treatment that fights the cancerous cells by attaching and delivering radiation. That treatment would last only a month, he said.
Golik said his doctor is still deciding between suggesting chemotherapy and antibody therapy.
He anticipates taking, at most, two days off a month for treatment. He’s designated his chief deputy prosecutor, John Fairgrieve, to run the office on the days he’s absent.
Golik said he received the news about the cancer two months ago, after having a cyst on his throat checked out by a doctor. First believed to be benign, a biopsy showed otherwise: He had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was graded as Stage I, an early stage of cancer.
He shared the news with staff earlier this month.
The news, though shocking, does not deter Golik from his goals and his outlook on the job, he said. “I foresee a long career,” he said.
Since taking office in January, Golik has been working to implement an elder abuse justice center, revamp the Superior Court’s drug court program to provide more incentive for offenders to seek treatment and change how sex abuse defendants are brought to court. Sex offenders formerly would receive summonses to appear in court; Golik has made it a policy for them to be arrested prior to appearing.
Golik, a longtime deputy prosecutor, won election last November by a decisive margin over Vancouver Senior Assistant City Attorney Brent Boger. He succeeded Art Curtis, who stepped down after 29 years.
His main platform was his extensive criminal law experience. A 15-year veteran deputy prosecutor, he was promoted in 2004 to the major crimes unit of the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
Since then, he’s prosecuted some of the county’s biggest recent cases, including the aggravated murder of Alycia Nipp in 2009. A homeless Level 3 sex offender, Darrin Sanford, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.
He also won a first-degree murder conviction after a 2010 trial relating to a 1978 murder case, thanks to new DNA evidence.
Golik is up for re-election in 2014. He lives in rural northeast Clark County with his wife and two young sons.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; firstname.lastname@example.org.; 360-735-4516.