ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings, who is undergoing treatment for lung cancer, said he deeply appreciates the outpouring of support he has received and is trying to “go with the flow until the day gets better.”
In a letter posted on ABC.com, Jennings updates viewers on his condition with frankness and a touch of humor.
“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,” he wrote. “Do I detect a knowing but sympathetic smile on many of your faces? You knew this was coming.”
Elizabeth Vargas, who has substituted frequently for Jennings since April 5, when the network said he had been diagnosed with cancer, will read portions of the letter on Friday’s World News Tonight broadcast.
Jennings thanked his many well-wishers. “Thousands of you have spoiled me rotten with your attention in the last couple of weeks,” he says. “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.”
Among them was Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen Spector, who advised Jennings the only way to get through chemotherapy treatment is to “work you way through it.” “He’s a tougher man than I am,” Jennings said.
President Carter’s former Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan, who has had cancer four times, sent Jennings his book, No Such Thing as a Bad Day, and told the anchor that “When it gets really bad, it will get better.” Jennings response: “Phew!”
Jennings did not, however, make any mention of when he might return to his anchor chair. In recent weeks, he has been in contact with World News Tonight producers through emails and phone calls.