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
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…