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New York Post

Cancer Shock at Ground Zero HS

By ELIZABETH WOLFF

SICK & ANGRY: Stuyvesant HS grad Amit Friedlander in '02 with Bill Clinton, whom he invited to speak at graduation, and now as he undergoes chemo. "I'm angry that I'm sick . . . and I think of how my Hodgkin's could be linked to going to school at Ground Zero," he said.     
SICK & ANGRY: Stuyvesant HS grad Amit Friedlander in '02 with Bill Clinton, whom he invited to speak at graduation, and now as he undergoes chemo. "I'm angry that I'm sick . . . and I think of how my Hodgkin's could be linked to going to school at Ground Zero," he said.
Photo: Dan Brinzac
 

September 24, 2006 -- On Sept. 11, 2001, Amit Friedlander and 3,000 other Stuyvesant students were herded north from the elite high school as the World Trade Center burned behind them.

When the towers tumbled, the kids were engulfed in a "huge cloud of dust," and Friedlander, the senior-class president, ran for his life.

Less than a month later, on Oct. 9, while the WTC fires still smoldered, spitting acrid smoke into the air, Stuyvesant students were called back to the school.

Now Friedlander, 22, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, and fears that his cancer may be linked to that toxic soup. He is one of more than 170 other Stuyvesant grads who have joined a petition calling for a government-sponsored study, screening and health care for kids who went to Stuyvesant in the year after the terror strikes.

In the weeks after the attacks, officials told Stuyvesant kids to avoid the tap water and not open the windows. The students watched as men in biohazard suits went in and out of classrooms to read air monitors.

"I got out of there as fast as possible, and I tried to shut out the worry about the air quality because we had no choice," the "A" student said.

Friedlander graduated with honors in 2002 and later earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He was to start working for a Manhattan consulting firm after a yearlong backpacking trip.

But just a day away from beginning the trip of a lifetime, Friedlander discovered a small lump beneath his collarbone.

He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a white-blood-cell cancer.

Other students at the school are also fearful of what may lay ahead for their health - and are just beginning to organize.

The former student spearheading the petition drive, Lila Nordstrom, says she's gotten little help from elected officials, despite the school's storied political connections. Sen. Charles Schumer's daughter was a member of Friedlander's class and President Bill Clinton accepted Friedlander's invitation to speak at the 2002 commencement.

Friedlander is undergoing six months of chemotherapy and staying at his parents' Upper West Side apartment.

His mother, Edna Golandsky, is worried. "When he was diagnosed, the air quality at his school was the first thing I thought about," she said.

For his part, Friedlander is outraged.

"I'm angry that I'm sick . . . and I think of how my Hodgkin's could be linked to going to school at Ground Zero," he said.

Additional reporting by Susan Edelman

elizabeth.wolff@nypost.com

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