NJ State Trooper Dies of Cancer Associated with 9/11-Related Injuries. A New Jersey state trooper who became ill after serving as a first responder at the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in Manhattan has died. The New Jersey State Police announced that Lieutenant Bill Fearon died of cancer. Last year, Lieutenant Fearon was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a malignant type of brain tumor. Three days later, he underwent surgery. He fought his cancer until his recent death.
Parker Waichman LLP, which has long fought alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and their advocates, sends its condolences to the family and friends of Lieutenant Fearon and to all the family and friends who have died following the 2001 attacks.
In 2015, Lieutenant Fearon was struggling to remember critical words in sentences and experienced episodes of split vision, according to NorthJersey.com. “My wife (Janice), who is a nurse, actually thought I was getting ready to have a stroke because I was working a lot of hours at two jobs,” Lieutenant Fearon said at the time. “I came out of the MRI, she was on the ground, bawling, and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘oh boy.'”
His surgeons successfully removed what was described as the “enhancing portion of the tumor,” according to NorthJersey.com, reported WKXW. He needed ongoing treatment because the tumor was located in an area of the brain that involves speech. “Even during this difficult time, Bill maintained his sense of humor, positive attitude, and can-do spirit,” State Police wrote in an announcement of his death. “Bill put it best when he stated, ‘Every day I put my feet on the ground and I look forward to winning. This is the mindset that I have, it’s about living without fear.'” In fact, Lieutenant Fearon handed out hundreds of “No Fear” wristbands to family, friends, and acquaintances during his struggle with cancer to show that he was never going to give up his fight, according to State Police.
“A State Trooper for 21 years, Bill has led a life of public service, protecting and serving others,” according to a GoFundMe page established to raise money for his family. “Bill’s dedication to others has always gone beyond the uniform. Bill can always be found in the community coaching sports, lending a helping hand at an event, or just being there for a friend in need. His greatest joy is being with his best friend and wife of 23 years, Janice, and their three amazing children Ryan, 18; Elyse, 16; and Jessie, 12.”
Lieutenant Fearon had been a member of the 114th State Police class, graduating on September 23, 1994. His complete career was served within the Division’s Field Operations Section, including Troops B and D, according to NJ1015.
Some 2,977 people were killed in the terrorist attacks. Newsday previously reported that, according to advocates and experts, the number of people who have died and will die from a 9/11-related health condition will exceed the number of those who died on that day. In just the past couple of years, the number of 9/11-linked cancers has nearly tripled to 5,441.
Medical researchers have said that because cancers and diseases of the immune system take years to develop, many more cases are expected. “They told us back then in 2001 that if there were going to be problems, it was going to happen 10 to 15 years after the fact,” a World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program enrollee told Newsday. “Now it is happening. These are the lingering effects of 9/11.” The enrollee worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, for close to nine months after the attacks.
Most individuals enrolled in the program have been diagnosed with respiratory illnesses
More than 37,000 first responders and survivors who registered with the federal World Trade Center WTC Health Program have been diagnosed with various illnesses; more than 1,100 have died. Most individuals enrolled in the program have been diagnosed with respiratory illnesses, likely due to the asbestos and other toxins and debris that were released on the day of the attack, according to experts, DailyCaller.com reported. More than 12,500 individuals have been diagnosed with mental health issues, including 10,000 diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More than 5,400 first responders and survivors have been diagnosed with cancer according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) WTC’s Health Program, CNN reported. That’s three times the amount of enrollees with cancer diagnoses associated with cancers tied to attacks since January 2014 when 1,822 signed up, according to the Program’s statistics. From January 2013 to January 2016, that number steadily increased by about 1,525 people annually. Those diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers may be higher. Also, the numbers only reflect people who have enrolled in the program that provides health care, medical monitoring, and treatment to the thousands of individuals directly affected by the 9/11 attacks, wrote CNN. “We continue to do outreach efforts to see who is eligible and out there,” said Christy Spring, public affairs specialist for the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Of those in the program, 4,692 are first responders, emergency responders, recovery and cleanup workers, and volunteers who helped following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Washington D.C.; and the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Another 749 people are survivors who lived, worked, or went to school near the WTC site on the day of the attacks or in the following months. Nearly half of the 5,441 individuals diagnosed with cancer range in age from 55 to 64. Those enrolled in the program have been diagnosed with 6,378 different cancers, which means that a number of people have been diagnosed with more than one type of cancer associated with the events of the 9/11 attacks and many of the cancer diagnoses are believed to be a result of exposure to known and suspected carcinogens and pollutants released during and following the attacks, according to CNN.
Parker Waichman notes that these tragic illness and deaths are horrible reminders of the serious, sometimes fatal, adverse health reactions, including cancer and other conditions related to toxic dust exposure that occurred during and following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to The Guardian, Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health reported at least 1,646 certified cancer cases in 2014 among first responders and rescuers. A 2011 CDC report indicated that the air at Ground Zero contained pulverized concrete, shards of glass, and various carcinogens.
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