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Norwood Still Receiving Treatments

After missing nearly all of January’s House session, Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) remains at Georgetown University Hospital undergoing a series of cancer treatments.

“He just continues toughing it out,” said John Stone, communications director for Norwood, strongly dismissing any speculation on Capitol Hill and in Georgia that Norwood might resign from the House because of his condition.

“Absolutely not,” said Stone, adding that there was “not one bit” of truth to that suggestion and that Norwood fully intends to run for re-election in 2008.

Norwood, 65, is undergoing chemotherapy in conjunction with other types of cancer treatments to battle lung cancer that has metastasized to his liver. Norwood has battled severe health problems since 1998 when he first revealed he suffered from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung condition that necessitated a lung transplant in 2004.

Since then the seven-term Georgia lawmaker has continued his work in Congress with the aid of a portable oxygen tank and a motorized scooter to assist getting around the Hill’s sprawling campus.

In 2006, Norwood had a cancerous tumor removed from his other lung, and doctors discovered that the non-small cell lung cancer had spread to his liver. He has been undergoing cancer treatment since December and remains at the hospital full time.

Norwood has missed nearly all floor votes since Congress reconvened Jan. 4, but the House has not taken up any particular legislation that required his presence, and his family and staff have encouraged Norwood to focus singularly on his health.

Norwood’s absence frequently has been noted by his Republican colleagues as well as President Bush, who referenced Norwood and ailing Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) in his State of the Union address by asking Members to pray for their “recovery and speedy return.”

Also, at the House Republican Conference retreat on Jan. 26, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) included Norwood in the invocation before Bush’s address. Similarly, a spokesman for the Conference said Norwood regularly is brought up at the weekly meetings. “One or two [Members] up front always ask to keep him in their thoughts and prayers,” said Ed Patru.

Norwood, and his Congressional office, remain active. According to his Web site, Norwood met with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) on Feb. 1 in his Georgetown hospital room to discuss health care funding for low-income children in their home state.

On Jan. 30 Norwood and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) introduced a bipartisan bill to help patients in need of kidney transplants find a compatible donor, and his press office remains active, putting out statements and touting local achievements, including a Jan. 24 release announcing a $520,000 federal research grant to the University of Georgia at Athens.

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