WASHINGTON, D.C - In the darkest days in US history, first responders from across the country responded to the call of duty. They spent days, weeks and even months searching, rescuing and recovering victims in the rubble.
Now, these American heroes are fighting their own battles. They’re battling unknown illnesses, PTSD, respiratory issues, heart disease and cancer. While these are common diseases, the way these men and women contracted them is anything but.
“Some of the respiratory and other ailments are unique to ground zero and 9/11 and require special attention and special research,” says Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
In 2011, Congress passed the James Zadroga Act, which authorized federal funds to provide care for 9/11 related health problems.
More than 100,000 people are eligible to access this health care. This year, however, those benefits are set to expire.
“It’s essential that we take action to make sure this program continues,” added Baldwin.
She, along with both New York senators and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, are working to extend the benefits so first responders don’t have to worry about paying for health care.
“If you volunteered your time and effort for that work you should be taken care of by the federal government in my view,” said Kirk (R-IL).