NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Saturday marks 20 years since 9/11, and many first responders are still battling serious health problems.

Former New York governor George Pataki, who was governor in 2001, joined FDNY officials outside Engine Company 10 near the World Trade Center on Wednesday afternoon.

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They are calling attention to the need to fund the Victim Compensation Fund and to support the medical monitoring program.

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Many first responders spent weeks and months at the World Trade Center site following the attacks. More than 2,000 confirmed cancers and illnesses have been linked to the toxic dust at Ground Zero.

“We can never forget those who responded so courageously, and we have to do whatever it takes to make sure their health is protected, their families are protected, as long as we possibly can,” Pataki said.

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More than 253 FDNY firefighters have died of 9/11-related illness.

CBSNewYork Team