On Monday, September 22, three retired FDNY Firefighters lost their battle with 9/11 related cancers all within a few hours of each other. Daniel Heglund, Howard Bischoff and Robert Leaver were all first responders at Ground Zero and as a result were exposed to toxic dust and debris. Like many other first responders, they were diagnosed with cancer due to their exposure.
All three had different types of 9/11 related cancers. Leaver was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003. Bischoff died of colon cancer and Heglund succumbed to esophageal cancer. The toxic air from 9/11 has lead to more than 2,500 Ground Zero workers to a diagnosis of World Trade Center related cancers. It has been 13 years since 9/11 and the effects are still very present.
The untimely death of these firefighters have given lawmakers even more of a reason to extend the 9/11 Bill. The Zadroga Bill is expected to expire in 2016 which will leave many first responders, area workers and survivors with 9/11 related cancers and other illnesses without free medical care. Both the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program are funded under the Zadroga Bill. If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer before October 12, 2012, the deadline to register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is October 12, 2014.
Even if you have not been diagnosed with any 9/11 related illnesses, but were exposed to World Trade Center toxins and debris between the dates of September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, you should still register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to protect your right to file a future claim. You can also enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program for yearly monitoring and check ups. Should you be diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer or other illness, the WTCHP will provide you with free care.
Should you have any questions about 9/11 cancers and whether you are eligible to apply to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please feel free to call, click the chat button or contact us at the top of this page.
Angela Luongo, a Paralegal with Turley, Hansen & Partners contributed to the writing of this post.