Former president of the UNC system William C. Friday characterizesSanford as "a fighter. His 'can-do' attitude is what has drivenhim for decades."
Noting Sanford's lifetime of public service, Friday said, "His wholebeing is out of that attitude of giving oneself, of serving withcompassion, striving to build better schools, more hospitals.He has done it all his life, and he is still doing it."
As he made his diagnosis public, Sanford told reporters, "I go (intothe hospital) with complete confidence. I go in there withcomplete optimism. I go in there with a bright spirit. I think I'll comeout all right in the long run. I think I'll beat whatever odds there are,and I think I'll be around here a long time."
Acknowledging that advanced esophageal and liver cancer generallylead to a life measured in months, not years, Sanford's physician, Dr.William Fulkerson, said, "He has faced a lot of long odds before, and he'sfacing this with the same courage he has before."
While Sanford intends to drop many of his responsibilities, including plans to teach a class at Duke University, where he served as president,he says he will continue efforts on behalf of a performing arts center he wants for the state.
Longtime friend, philanthropist and Duke descendant Mary D.B.T. Semanspraised Sanford's ability to excite others about worthy projects. She andhe have collaborated on many such ventures over the years, the latestbeing the arts center.
"His name attached to something means success," she said. "He producesthe loyalty and the fascination and the interest that this (arts) centerneeds."
Sanford, a Laurinburg native, served as governorfrom 1961-65. He was elected to one term in the U.S. Senate in 1986.
Sanford is considered the father of the state's communitycollege system. The N.C. School of the Arts and Governor's Schoolwere also established during his term as governor.
For 16 years, between his terms as governor and U.S. Senator,Sanford served as president of Duke University.
He has written three books about politics and government, aswell as one about how to lead healthful life.
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