PSU alumni react to Paterno's lung cancer

PHILADELPHIA - November 19, 2011

While still reeling from the Penn State sex scandal, which cost his father his job, the family has been dealt another blow; Joe Paterno's lung cancer, which doctors say is treatable.

Jay told ESPN that the faith his parents instilled in him is helping him through the crisis, and that if there is one guy who can beat the disease, it's his father.

Many Penn State alumni are saddened at the news, and many are asking, what next?

Through weeks of turmoil, the Penn State community has been trying to hold strong, the new development involving their beloved and former coach, has many of the reeling.

"When it rain, it pours," said David Brightbill. "He's just getting the raw end of the deal. I still wish he was the coach."

Inside Mad River in Manayunk Saturday afternoon, PSU alumni cheered on the Nittany Lions and reflected on the rollercoaster ride of Joe Paterno has had the past two weeks.

"I was devastated when I found out he had lung cancer, and I felt sorry for Paterno a lot through this. If he knew something, he knew something, if he didn't, he didn't," said Mark Paul.

The lightning criticism and support came quickly as people questioned Joe Paterno's handling of the child sex abuse allegations against his former assistant coach.

The news of an illness can sway emotions, but PSU alumni say, no matter how you feel about Joe Paterno, his cancer has nothing to do with the scandal at Penn State.

"A lot of people are making hype out of it. It's suppose to be this big thing that Joe Paterno has a lung cancer now, and he did this to try to subtract the attention from him for being involved in the whole scandal. But I really feel it's unrelated," said Jamie Tieman.

And while many are wishing Paterno the best, those who attended Penn State are trying to keep the focus on the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky.

A group of alumni raised nearly a half million dollars to help victims of sexual abuse.

"One thing Joe has said to me throughout all of this is, we have to make sure we keep focus on the victims of this whole tragedy, so really that's where a lot of the prayers are going for us," said Jay Paterno.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.