Cancer kills 9/11 volunteer months after feds approve coverage

Adan Gonzalez
Adan Gonzalez and his daughter, Paola. (Courtesy of Paola Gonzalez)

By the time officials said Ground Zero toxins might have caused cancer, Adan Gonzalez was already dying from his.

Gonzalez, 69, died last month from throat cancer, which his daughter Paola Gonzalez said he developed after two years of volunteering at Ground Zero.

More than a decade after the attack, many 9/11 responders are ill after spending months and years toiling in the toxic dust surrounding the attack site.

So many contracted cancer — a study last month found responders have a 15 percent higher rate of cancer; 2012 data showed an average age of 44 — that the Zadroga Act, a fund that compensates people who are sick, announced 50 covered cancers in September.

But Gonzalez, an immigrant who came to the city from Colombia without knowing English and “believed in the American dream,” his daughter said, was already sick — he received his diagnosis that month.

His story, she said, is “all too familiar” for 9/11 responders.

John Feal, who runs the FealGood Foundation that assists responders, told Metro that 1,300 have died – and that number is climbing.

Just last week, the names of five police officers who died – most under age 50 – from 9/11-related diseases were added to a memorial wall at One Police Plaza.

Gonzalez, a photographer for more than 45 years, volunteered with the Red Cross at Ground Zero, his daughter said, giving out food to first responders and taking photos for the aid group.

“He loved his country,” she said. “He put his life on the line without expecting anything in return.”

In June, she’ll head to Washington, D.C., hoping to talk to politicians about ending the red tape she said added to her father’s suffering.

Her father “was getting the run around” during his illness, she said, waiting on answers to questions about whether his illness qualified. Years after Zadroga was passed, others told Metro they had not received funds.

“He died waiting for that,” she said.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

The Word

The Word: Jennifer Lawrence among victims of massive…

It's been a while since there was a celebrity nude photo leak, so some industrious and not-at-all-creepy hackers got together to unleash one doozy of…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.