PLAINS, GEORGIA —
Four months after announcing he was battling cancer, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told members of his church in Plains, Georgia, there were no signs of the life-threatening disease.
Speaking by phone to VOA, Maranatha Baptist Church member, and close Carter friend Jill Stuckey, said the former president told a crowd of several hundred that medical tests conducted this week did not show signs of the cancer he was diagnosed with earlier this year.
"My most recent MRI brain scan did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones," Carter said in a separate announcement issued Sunday by the former president’s Atlanta-based non-profit Carter Center.
“It went crazy after he said what he said,” Stuckey explained. “Everybody started clapping. His famous gorgeous grin came over his face. It was just a very joyous time. The best Christmas present we could ever receive.”
During an August news conference, Carter explained after removing a lesion on part of his liver, doctors also discovered four small cancerous lesions on his brain. Radiation treatment soon followed, as well as a course of drug treatments to help boost his immune system to help fight off the cancer in his body.
In a November statement to the media, the Carter Center announced “recent tests have shown there is no evidence of new malignancy, and his original problem is responding well to treatment.”
“There’s always going to be looking and watching,” Stuckey says. “He's not through seeing the inside of a hospital, but it’s probably going to be tests to keep track of his progress.”
Former president Jimmy Carter measures before making a cut with a miter saw at a Habitat for Humanity building site, Nov. 2, 2015, in Memphis, Tennessee.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Carter had promised to scale back his busy schedule as head of the Carter Center, but has showed few signs of slowing down.
He has regularly taught Sunday School lessons at his church in his hometown of Plains most weeks since the announcement, and along with his wife, Rosalynn, recently participated in a Habitat for Humanity home building effort in Memphis, Tennessee.
“He hasn‘t slowed down at all,” says Stuckey. “I heard Rosalynn Carter say they only eliminated one or two things. His schedule has been the same since the announcement. They’re never going to slow down as long as they have an ounce of energy.”
Carter, who turned 91 in October, holds the record for the longest post-White House career of any U.S. president.