The Chicago Teachers Union is keeping its lips zipped on Karen Lewis' health after the union president—and prospective mayoral candidate—checked into a hospital after "experiencing discomfort" Sunday night.
CTU spokesperson Stephanie Gadlin said she does not have much information on Lewis's health and couldn't share too much if she did know because of health privacy laws. "I can tell you she had a cantaloupe for breakfast,"Gadlin said when reached on Wednesday morning.
As NBC 5 reported Monday, Lewis took herself to the hospital on Sunday after "experiencing discomfort" and "feeling lightheaded." Her exploratory campaign aide Brandon Johnson told NBC 5 that Lewis "lost a considerable amount of weight -- more than 100 pounds," and she "wants to make sure there are no complications."
"Karen is a freedom fighter, a nationally recognized education advocate and the people's champ. She'll be back on her feet in no time. She is resting well and in good spirits -- and still thinking of creative ways to secure the future and city our students and their families deserve," CTU rep Stephanie Gadlin said Monday in a statement, squashing chatter that Lewis had suffered a stroke.
Back in May, the 61-year-old Lewis confirmed she had bariatric surgery in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, because her health insurance would not cover it here in the States.
"I have no shame around it," she told the Sun-Times. "And I don’t think anybody should have shame about it ... I feel so much better. It has been a highly positive experience for me I would highly recommend it.”
Lewis, a vocal critic of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, recently started to raise campaign money to potentially challenge Emanuel in February's mayoral election.
Her health issue, whatever it may be, could factor into Lewis' decision on whether or not she wants to make a play for Emanuel's Fifth Floor throne. Second Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, a fellow progressive and Emanuel nemesis, recently announced his candidacy.
In a statement Monday, Fioretti's campaign said: "Our thoughts are with Karen and her family and we wish her a speedy recovery. Karen is a valuable voice in the debate about our city’s future and we look forward to hearing from her soon."