Republican Senator Arlen Specter has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, but that has not stopped the 75-year-old from being an active public figure.
The Pennsylvania moderate found the energy to visit the West Philadelphia offices of National Student Partnerships to greet some of the clients and volunteers involved with the program.
NSP is a student-run organization that provides support for people in need and works to connect them with the resources "necessary to become self-sufficient."
The organization provides many different types of services and is partially funded by the federal government, in part as a result of Specter's efforts.
"When you find people with determination, gusto and a plan -- that's the kind of the thing the federal government should be helping out." Specter said.
There are over 200 clients and 85 student volunteers in the three Philadelphia offices -- at Penn, Temple and La Salle -- that help clients like Anthony Hoggard.
"This is an organization that definitely deserves support," a tearful Hoggard told Specter and the approximately 30 others present.
In addition to explaining how the students at NSP changed his life, Hoggard told Specter that "from the bottom of his heart" he was rooting for him in his battle with Hodgkin's disease.
Hodgkin's disease is a type of cancer affecting the lymph nodes. Specter will receive chemotherapy every two weeks for up to 32 weeks at the Abramson Cancer Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Otherwise, the issue of the senator's health was not brought up, although Kirsten Lodal, CEO and co-founder of NSP, said that she was surprised that Specter was able to come because he had his first round of treatment last week.
Lodal said the student-run NSP is different from other service organizations.
"Students are under-utilized in so many other programs," Lodal said. "We saw students being able to be in a central navigator position for clients while coordinating services centrally so that there was one place that clients could come."
In addition to Hoggard, three other people involved with NSP thanked Specter at the brief event.
William Yu, one of the co-founders of the Philadelphia offices, thanked Specter for his support and talked about the personal impact the program had on him.
The College senior said that his involvement with NSP "is why I'm studying public administration at [the Fels Institute of Government] and not becoming a doctor like my parents wanted."Comments powered by Disqus
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