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Sox boss Kenny Williams calls fiance, CNN anchor Sambolin “brave” in breast cancer fight


Barbara Walters

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Updated: June 16, 2013 6:32AM

He’s the man!

White Sox Executive Veep Kenny Williams is covering all bases in his fiancee’s battle against breast cancer.

“I am proud to be engaged to one strong and brave woman and my intention is to be with her any way she needs me to be,” said Williams, whose fiancee, CNN’s “Early Start” anchor Zoraida Sambolin, announced Tuesday she has breast cancer and is planning to have a double mastectomy later this month.

Williams, who helped steer the Sox into a World Series win, tells Sneed the disclosure of Sambolin’s cancer on CNN Tuesday morning was prompted by an op-ed piece in the New York Times by actress Angelina Jolie about her own double mastectomy.

Unlike Jolie, whose mother died of ovarian cancer, Sambolin has no family history of cancer, according to Williams.

In the Tuesday op-ed, Jolie emphasized the importance of spousal support akin to what she was receiving from her partner, actor Brad Pitt.

“My job as Zoraida’s partner is to be what she needs me to be at the time she needs it,” said Williams, who told Sneed after his engagement to Sambolin last year he was “about as happy as I’ve ever been as an adult.”

“It’s going to be different at different times. During doctor visits, I may weigh in. And then there are times I need to shut the hell up! They’ll be times when you can do nothing more than give her a hug. I suspect that’s going to be the case a lot through all of this.

“She [Sambolin] was struggling with how to explain to viewers what she had decided to do,” said Williams. “She was moved by Jolie’s public disclosure.”

“I’d be lying to you if I told you getting Zoraida’s diagnosis was just another part of my day when she told me,” he added. “It throws you into reverse. But at the same time you go into survival mode. She is such an amazing woman!

“Look. We discussed this and decided so many people were losing family members to cancer that didn’t have to be lost. It’s as simple as making regular office visits. My mother convinced my father to visit the doctor recently and he ended up having prostate cancer surgery that saved his life.

“Zoraida is the salt of the earth and I am one lucky man.”

So it should come as no surprise Williams dispatched an email to all his close friends and associates Tuesday morning, which read:

“Please have the ladies and men in your life get regular checkups. Do not take life for granted.”

Hoop shot . . .

Hmmmm: Did Rosemont Mayor Bradley A. Stephens have a snitfit and pull the plug on DePaul University’s annual graduation ceremony at the Allstate Arena, where DePaul’s Blue Demons men’s basketball team plays. . . now that plans are afoot for a major stadium to be built at McCormick Place to house the team?

◆ The upshot, buckshot and no surprise: Sneed is told the largest of the seven DePaul University graduation ceremonies will take place this year at McCormick Place!

The Barbara file . . .

TV tsarina Barbara Walters may be able to interview the world’s most famous people, but she doesn’t know how to drive. Is that a project after her retirement next year?

Obamarama drama . . .

Chilling out with Justin & Jessica: President Obama, reeling from the Benghazi brouhaha and the IRS mess, found time Monday to kick back at a Dem fundraiser at movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s Manhattan digs also attended by Justin Timberlake and wife, Jessica Biel.

Isn’t that comforting?

◆ Say whaaaa: Describing his mindset, Obama told the chic gathering: “you also start just thinking about history and you start thinking in longer sweeps of time.” Really.

Check, please!

Irrepressible restaurant icon Ina Pinkney, one of five finalists for new host of WTTW’s “Check, Please!”, has invited her competition to breakfast at her Ina’s eatery, Wednesday morning — before the host is announced May 29.

◆ Translation: “I want to say congratulations for making it from 1,000 people down to five,” Ina tells Sneed.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Jamie Lynn Sigler, 32; Ray Lewis, 38, and Andy Murray, 26.

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