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Connell returns to county after battling rare illness

Westport Supervisor Dan Connell talks with Schroon Supervisor Michael Marnell on his first day back at county offices one month after starting treated for a rare disease.

Westport Supervisor Dan Connell talks with Schroon Supervisor Michael Marnell on his first day back at county offices one month after starting treated for a rare disease. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Dan Connell returned to his seat at the Essex County Board of Supervisors Sept. 9, just over a month after facing a serious illness that he can’t remember.

“The doctors believe that I contracted a virus that caused my auto immune system to interact with itself and eventually caused a blockage to the memory cells,” Connell said in his first public comments since being diagnosed with the malady. “I have approximately four weeks that I have no memory of.”

Connell said that he has been working with his doctors during the path to recovery from a disease he said, “less than 20 people in the world have been diagnosed with.”

“I have undergone intense medical treatment for this condition,” he said. “Last Wednesday, I was told by my neurologist that there were no more signs of my auto immune system operating incorrectly and except for the fact that I would not have any memory of the four weeks when my memory cells were blocked, I can expect a full recovery.”

That point was further made when Schroon Supervisor Michael Marnell offered Connell a blue ribbon for beating him in the annual cow milking contest at the Essex County Fair.

“I honestly don’t remember what happened,” Connell said.

Connell also used his time to thank the board and those who offered support during his treatment.

“I would like to thank all of you for your phone calls, cards, prayers and concerns,” he said. “I can’t begin to tell you how much those have meant to me while dealing with the condition I just experienced.

“I would like to thank all of you, the staff at the county and my town staff and colleagues and my family and friends for the incredible support I have been given as I went through this experience,” Connell concluded. “It has made me realize how incredibly supportive everyone is when that support is needed.”

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