Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr. diagnosed with melanoma

Countless families have experienced the ravages of cancer, with some having to watch the dreaded disease take its toll on members of multiple generations.

Sadly, one of America’s most prominent political, philanthropic and business families is in the midst of such a trial. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Jr. just revealed that he has been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Melanoma diagnosis

Earlier this week, Ambassador Huntsman told a journalist from the Deseret News that during the summer he had returned home to Utah for a visit and had multiple suspicious growths removed. He was formally diagnosed with melanoma shortly afterward.

Fortunately, Huntsman’s melanoma was caught early and is classified as Stage 1.

“We’ll probably get it taken care of, and we’ll be fine,” Hunstman said, adding that even so, his condition “kind of puts things in perspective.”

Though the ambassador had observed dark spots on the skin behind one ear as well as on one leg, he was still surprised by the official diagnosis. Huntsman’s health will be carefully monitored going forward so that any additional malignancies can be detected early.

Family history

Ambassador Huntsman’s family has, unfortunately, had a long history of battling cancer. Noted philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr. died in February of this year after fighting the disease at numerous points throughout his life.

Mr. Huntsman, Sr.’s father died as the result of prostate cancer and his mother died due to breast cancer in the late 1960s.

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Cancer research donors

The Huntsman family has channeled a significant portion of its charitable efforts over the years to funding cancer treatment and research. Jon Huntsman, Sr. donated over $100 million in the 1990s toward the establishment of a cancer research center situated at the University of Utah and contributed more than $400 million for the creation and support of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

The elder Huntsman’s devotion to finding a cure for cancer is evidenced in his 2014 autobiography in which he wrote, “Cancer is hideous and deplorable and must be conquered,” and that the mission of defeating it must go on, even “if it takes my last dollar – and I expect that will be the case.”

No plans to step down

Serving as President Donald Trump’s Ambassador to Russia since last year, Huntsman, Jr. had previously served as Ambassador to China and Singapore. He even sought the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

The ambassador previously took steps to keep his diagnosis under wraps, concerned that Russian officials might seize upon the news for propaganda purposes.

Despite his diagnosis, Huntsman has no plans to step down from arguably one of the most important diplomatic appointments in the Trump administration, and his optimism offers real cause for hope that he will enjoy many more years of honorable service to our country.

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