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For Chicago’s First Lady, A Final Bow, Too

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A beaming Maggie Daley appeared vibrant during one of her last public appearances as Chicago's first lady. (CBS)

A beaming Maggie Daley appeared vibrant during one of her last public appearances as Chicago’s first lady. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Just as Friday was Richard Daley’s swan song as mayor –- he technically turns the reigns over to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Monday – it was also the final curtain call for first lady Maggie Daley.

It’s a role she made her own by trying to make life better for Chicago’s young people.

At Ogden Park, on the final lap of the final leg of his neighborhood farewell tour, Mayor Daley was praised for his 22-year tenure. But even he had to draw the line.

“As mayor, you take credit for everything, right? I cannot take credit for After School Matters — that was Maggie Daley’s idea,” Daley said.

It’s Maggie Daley’s crowning achievement. What began as a summer program for 300 teens became Mrs. Daley’s passion and her personal triumph, providing after-school learning opportunities last year for 20,000 Chicago high-schoolers.

Mrs. Daley, in turn, gave credit to her husband.

“You know, I could have never done it unless I was married to this guy,” she said.

Maggie Daley’s legacy is also one of public poise, courage and determination in a battle with breast cancer that has lasted almost a decade.

Although Mrs. Daley has been hospitalized recently for surgery and for bouts of flulike illness, on Friday she appeared beaming and vibrant.

“I feel good,” she told reporters. “I have a lot of challenges ahead, but anybody who had cancer has the same experiences. So, we’re a mighty group.”

The woman who’s faced cancer without fear isn’t flinching as she looks ahead to the end of her husband’s life in elective politics. Mrs. Daley said it’s “another chapter.”

“We’re looking forward to other possibilities,” she said.

Maggie Daley admitted the first day out of office might be a shock for her husband. But she expects them both to be very busy.

She would like to expand After School Matters so that every student who wants to be involved can be.

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