They sprinted to the scene that day, but they say no one’s rushing to help them.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled to Washington, D.C., yesterday, pushing senators to vote for a bill funding Ground Zero responders. “Those brave men and women need our senators to answer their call,” Bloomberg said in the capital, urging a November vote. He met with Republican Sens. Susan Collins and John McCain.
“These people do not ask for help,” said Claire Calladine, executive director and co-founder of Long-Island based 9/11 Health Now. “They help others.”
But responders desperately need help, she said. The bill would provide $7.4 billion in treatment and research for 9/11 responders and survivors.
Scarred lungs, mutating cancers, a 31-year-old stockbroker with leukemia — new cases from Ground Zero’s toxic dust keep emerging. So far, 916 workers have died. More than 30,000 are sick.
The bill, named the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act for an NYPD officer who died of 9/11-related respiratory diseases, passed the House in September.
In the meantime, responders are living a nightmare, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “that is slowly robbing them of their strength, their lives.”
Responders need more than this money, however, said Marlon Suson, founder of the Ground Zero Museum Workshop. Physicians must know the environmental impact in their illnesses, like inhaled carcinogens. “They’re walking toxic bombs,” he said.
If the bill gets tabled until a new incoming Congress, Maloney told Metro, “Who knows if we could get it through?”
Long Islander John Feal, who lost his left foot as a Ground Zero demolition supervisor and who spoke in D.C. with the mayor, started the FealGood Foundation to support sick responders. “The aftermath is still causing havoc,” he said.
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