Letter From Peter Jennings

ByABC News

April 29, 2005 — -- Following is the text of a letter from "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings to thank all those who have offered their good wishes since he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Yesterday I decided to go to the office; I live only a few blocks away. I got as far as the bedroom door. Chemo strikes.

Do I detect a knowing but sympathetic smile on many of your faces? You knew this was coming.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania wrote me a note to say that the only way to get through chemo is to "work your way through it." He's a tougher man than I am.

I assume there are a few others out there who, like me, are going with the flow until the day gets better.

Incidentally, Hamilton Jordan, former Chief of Staff in the Carter Administration, sent me his book "No Such Thing as a Bad Day." He's had cancer four times. He tells me, as have many others, that when it gets really bad, it will get better. Phew!

Thousands of you have spoiled me rotten with your attention in the last couple of weeks. Whether you have a cancer connection or not, your anecdotes, mementos, home recipes, and general all-purpose guidance and concern have all been so deeply appreciated. I hope you know.

So many experiences have meant something special. A woman in my building, who is a cancer survivor, showed up at our front door so that we could see that bald really is beautiful. She's right.

I won't soon forget an encounter as I was leaving the hospital. A middle-aged couple was going into the building and as they passed me, I heard my name and turned. The woman stepped right into my face and said, "Me too. Lung cancer." Instinctively, immediately, we gave each other a hug … a real hug … and went on our respective ways knowing that we had been strengthened by the connection.

So thank you for all of the connections. And finally, if you would, add a friend of mine to your prayers. The jazz legend Percy Heath, whose bass anchored the Modern Jazz Quartet for four decades, died of bone cancer on Sunday. He was 81 and we will sure miss him.

As always,


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