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Stand up for 33,000 Ground Zero responders who are sick, dying, or have already died since 9/11

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New Jersey Newsroom
March 8, 2010

In a ground shattering instant, thousands of lives were lost. A community was transformed into an unfamiliar warzone full of people who were suddenly lost, fearful, and detached from the rest of the world. The way of life as they knew it was shattered; families lost loved ones and friends without a forewarning, a chance to escape or say their goodbyes. Despite massive rescue efforts the mass desperation seemed hopeless. Many of you reading this may assume that I am describing the events in Haiti, but the horrific scene I am depicting happened in our own country on September 11, 2001.

Of the 40,000 people who responded to Ground Zero after the attacks, 70 percent, or 33,000, are sick, dying, or have already died as a result of their service. More than one third of the uniformed and non-uniformed workers and volunteers who responded to the search and clean-up were from New Jersey. Few people in the tri-state area were not directly impacted in some way by theses terrorist attacks, but the rest of the country may only remember the catastrophic event and not realize that people are still suffering the aftermath today. Sadly, there is an epidemic going on in our own backyards and many Americans are not even fully aware that it is happening.

Most recently, the Obama Administration outraged Americans when they announced the President would not back the Congressional bill that would guarantee long-term funding for healthcare and research for Ground Zero workers. Because of the backlash from 9/11 first responders, residents and lawmakers, the Administration reversed course and announced that President Obama would double next year’s budget for treating the sick to $150 million.

In an effort to bring this vital issue to light, I have been working with the 9/11 survivor group, the Feal Good Foundation headed by first responder John Feal, which raises awareness of this issue, the services available to these individuals, and the need for insurance claims to be funded for those who are experiencing health related illnesses from the toxic air quality in the weeks following September 11th, 2001.

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This article was posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 at 5:16 am

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