A Breast Cancer Survivor's Take on Khouri's Mailer


The following was submitted as an editorial to local news outlets by Illinois resident, Annette Szczesny, in response to an offensive mailer circulated in support of Tonia Khouri. 

February 25, 2018

 Nic meeting with Annette Szczesny, breast cancer survivor and Illinois voter. 

Nic meeting with Annette Szczesny, breast cancer survivor and Illinois voter. 

It has come to my attention that Tonia Khouri, Republican candidate for District 49 State Representative is circulating a new flyer personally attacking her opponent, Nic Zito. Representing the same political party, these candidates are facing each other in the March 20th primary.

Being the mother of a founding member of Brotein LLC, and knowing Nic on a personal level motivates me to respond to Ms. Khouri’s flyer. More importantly, as a Breast Cancer Survivor, I feel the need to present the true story behind the “Bra Crawl.” Taking elements of the event out of context and claiming Nic to be a “Party Animal,” the flyer is a distortion of the events surrounding the so called “Bra Crawl.” The 2013 Bra Crawl was really a Bar Crawl during which my son, and other Brotein owners, including Nic, sold T-shirts to collect funds in order to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Avon Walk. The photos on this flyer show Nic and friends participating in the Bar Crawl. Through their Bar Crawl, held in Champaign-Urbana, and intended to appeal to college-aged students, Nic and the Brotein Company raised over $11,000.00 for cancer research. Nic, Brotein, and his friends participated in a selfless, volunteer act with results that contributed to the scientific community’s attempts to eradicate cancer.

I am of the fortunate group that has survived breast cancer. Being such, I am grateful to any person or group that is able to collect donations for the American Cancer Society. I am certain the many women I have met in my support group would appreciate the efforts of these young men. In fact, I believe it is likely that even women who have never suffered from the disease, and even men, would appreciate Nic and Brotein’s efforts and success in collecting monetar donations for cancer research. It is well-known that a cancer diagnosis can result in death, physical dis-figuration, and emotional trauma. If Ms. Khouri has any humanity about her, now that she knows the true story of the Bra Crawl that her campaign has chosen to display with this flyer in such an irresponsible manner, she will cease its circulation and issue a public apology.

Finally, though I am not a voter in the 49th District, I do regularly vote and must state my disappointment with the prevailing trend, which Ms. Khouri seems to be embracing, of American campaigns. It would behoove candidates for any and all offices to present themselves in light of and how they plan to address the issues affecting those citizens they will represent. I believe the American public would appreciate candidates who take the time while pursuing and/or holding office, who contemplate understanding constituents’ issues in order to consider and present solutions and ideas to improve things in our nation. This approach is more likely to allow for forward movement in an often polarized, ineffective and inefficient government. Using one’s time and mind to personally attack opponents does nothing to build good government. I would hope Ms. Khouri and her staff will discontinue her current practices that emulate this behavior and steer her campaign in a more intelligent manner going forward.

Annette Szczesny
River Forest, Illinois