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9/11 Injuries

Retired 9/11 Firefighter Battling Stage 4 Cancer, Says It Was Worth It

May 18, 2015 | Michael Barasch

In the years following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, dozens of first responders have suffered deadly diseases related to the work they did at Ground Zero. For some of them, the end came quickly in the months following the attacks. Others did not begin to feel the symptoms of their conditions until years after the towers fell and the cleanup was completed.

For one retired 9/11 firefighter, it was not until 2008 that he first displayed any symptoms. One day, he felt a sharp pain in his waist. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered a baseball-sized tumor in his leg that had grown to the point that it had broken his hip. He was diagnosed with renal cancer and began aggressive therapy to treat the disease.

Since that diagnosis, the firefighter has undergone several invasive surgeries, including having a kidney removed and replacing his hip. He has also undergone chemotherapy to treat the cancer. For years, he was able to keep working with the FDNY as a chief’s aide at headquarters, but last year he suffered a heart attack due to his chemotherapy and was finally forced into retirement.

Now, more than seven years since the cancer was discovered, it has spread to his ribs and has advanced to stage four, the most serious type of cancer. Despite the severity of his condition, however, the first responder still believes it was worth it to work as a firefighter. In fact, he says it is “the best job in the world.” Just days ago, his son was sworn in as a FDNY Emergency Medical Technician, ready to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Since 9/11, more than 100 FDNY members have died due to diseases related to their time at Ground Zero. And more than 600 have experienced serious illnesses and health complications. If you are a member of this group, speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson in New York.

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