On Tuesday, Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD Detective, suffering from the effects of 9/11 toxic air, testified angrily before Congress, defending 9/11 survivors and responders and alerting Congress members to an expiring 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Alvarez told the few Congress member in attendance that he was scheduled for his 69th chemo treatment on Wednesday and didn’t even want to make the trip.
Alvarez: “I should not be here with you, but you made me come, you made me come because I will not stand by while friends with cancer from 9/11 are valued any less. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to have 68 rounds of chemo, many others haven’t had the opportunity to have five and some have had none.”
Alvarez, who appeared to be weak and frail, told lawmakers that he considered himself fortunate to have the opportunity to go through the treatment’s pain and suffering, signaling that he could have died, but he was still alive to speak to them to renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Back in 2015, lawmakers allocated $7 billion for 9/11, which was supposed to last until 2020, but the treatment was given 75 years, so once again, the government has screwed up another program.
Alvarez: “You all said that you would never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t.”
A 2018 August report from the New York Post claimed nearly 10,000 people had been exposed to toxic dust during 9/11 and had developed cancer. Since 9/11, 420 of those responders on the front lines at Ground Zero on that fateful day, have since died of cancer.
Alvarez’s cancer is tied to his time spent searching rooftops for victims after the towers fell and trying to salvage the remains of fellow members of the NYPD and FDNY.
Alvarez: “I’ve been to many places in this world and done many things, but I can tell you I did not want to be anywhere else but Ground 0 when we were there.”
Alvarez received a standing ovation.