NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There is a heartbreaking update in the ongoing saga to keep the victims’ compensation fund for 9/11 first responders open.
Lou Alvarez, one of the retired NYPD officers who just sat in an emotional congressional hearing with Jon Stewart, announced he has entered hospice care due to the incurable nature of his cancer.
“I’m still here and still fighting,” Alvarez said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“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.”
It’s the latest development in the ongoing health challenges now 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.
Stewart, the New York comedian who has led the charge for permanent funding of the victims’ compensation fund, shamed Congress in a fiery speech on June 11.
Det. 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.
The day after Stewart and the first responder’s damning testimony on Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to support sick survivors and extend the Victim Compensation Fund until 2090.
Officials say more than 95,000 responders and survivors are now sick.
The full vote is expected to be held in July however, Stewart has already put Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on the defensive about dragging his feet on the issue. Sen. McConnell said Congress would act to keep the fund open.
For Alvarez, any positive progress made this summer is sadly coming 18 years too late.