9/11 first responder who testified with Jon Stewart enters hospice


NEW YORK (CBS) — Lou Alvarez, a retired New York Police Department detective who testified in an emotional congressional hearing last week about reauthorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, has entered hospice care due to the incurable nature of his cancer, CBS New York reports.

“I’m still here and still fighting,” Alvarez said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The fund was established nine years ago to provide health care benefits to first responders and others in the community with illnesses related to the 2001 terror attacks, but is running short of money.

In emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, comedian Jon Stewart at times broke down in tears, shouting at the lawmakers and calling them “shameful” as he implored them to re-up the fund.

Stewart, who’s led the charge for permanent funding of the fund, scorched lawmakers s in a fiery speech on June 11.

Alvarez, who has stage 4 cancer, spoke about how medical support for himself and thousands of others was running out by 2020.

“I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11, like me, are valued less than anyone else,” Alvarez said.

“This fund isn’t a ticket to paradise, it’s to provide our families with care,” said Alvarez. “You all said you would never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t,” Alvarez said to a room of loud applause.

Alvarez was set to begin his 69th round of chemotherapy the next day to treat the cancer he was diagnosed with after the World Trade Center fell.

But his Facebook post says those plans abruptly changed:

Hello everyone, “I’m still here and still fighting.” I just wanted to let you know, what is going on with me. Since you have have been with me on this 3 year ride. I’m now in hospice, because their is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer. It had nothing to do with my trip to DC, that was just coincidence. The day after my trip I was scheduled for chemo, but the nurse noticed I was disoriented. A few tests later they realized that my liver had completely shut down because of the tumors and wasn’t cleaning out the toxins in my body and it was filling up with ammonia, hence the disorientation. So now I’m resting and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time. I will try to do a few more interviews to keep a light on our fight for the VCF benefits we all justly deserve. Please take care of yourselves and each other.- God Bless-Lou.
” Still here, still breathing, Still fighting”.

It’s the latest development in the ongoing health challenges facing thousands of first responders and other victims who were in and around the toxic pile left by the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

The day after the hearing, the full House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to support sick survivors and extend the fund until 2090.

Officials say more than 95,000 responders and survivors are now sick.

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