On January 9, 2018, the Albany area mourned as Trooper Michael J. Anson, a 31-year veteran of the New York State Police, was laid to rest on after a long battle with 9/11-related cancer. According to the Saratogian, “Following the events of 9/11, Anson [had been] assigned to New York City to aid in search and recovery efforts in and around the World Trade Center.” Trooper Anson’s passing is a reminder of the emotional weight so many 9/11 responders carry as uncertainty about their own health continues to haunt them. Many responders have sought emotional support from cancer support groups as well as health screenings from the World Trade Center Health Program.
News 10 in Albany interviewed Kevin Terry, another responder from the Capital Region who, like Anson, had participated in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. According to Terry, when he arrived on the scene hours after the attack, “It was just mass chaos and there was still a huge rescue operation going on at that time.” The magnitude of the damage was staggering, but Terry also recalled the conditions at the time, saying, “We didn’t know what was in the air there. We didn’t know what the debris contained.” Now what these responders don’t know is how much damage the highly toxic WTC smoke has done to their health and what the future holds.
More than 16 years after the terrorist attacks, the threat to responders of that toxic air has not abated, and responders continue to develop cancers with long latency periods. As Terry stated, “Routinely, we are getting notified of this kind of death from these very aggressive types of cancers and respiratory illnesses that people are coming down with.” Naturally, these notifications weigh on Terry’s mind, which is why he gets regular health screenings through the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai in New York City.
There are currently more than 70,000 persons registered with the WTC Health Program, and as of September 2017, more than 6,200 of those had been diagnosed with cancer. To date, more than 250 9/11 responders have died from a related cancer.
Because the 9/11 attacks continue to claim victims, Barasch & McGarry continues to fight for victims’ rights. These victims naturally include 9/11 responders, but they also increasingly include ordinary citizens who were present in lower Manhattan in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11. We urge all potentially affected persons to avail themselves of the WTC Health Program and to register with the Victim Compensation Fund immediately upon diagnosis of a 9/11-related illness.
Barasch & McGarry helps responders and others affected by 9/11 illnesses get the benefits they deserve. For a free consultation with a lawyer who understands your situation and the law, please contact us online or call 888-351-9421.
Image: Ayla Ferrone, NEWS10