$1M Grant Will Fund Study of NYC Responders’ Cancer

The FDNY has received a boost for research on hematological cancers that strike responders who helped at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research presented a $1M grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, located in Bronx, N.Y.,  to study early detection of cancers hematological cancers linked to toxic dust and debris found at the World Trade Center.

“Right now, there are too many of our members fighting this disease,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said during a ceremony Monday. “And we know there will be far too many more that will develop cancer from their work, and ultimately, many who may lose their lives. That’s why this grant means so much to every single member of this Department.”

Chief of Department Edward Kilduff added, “This is a terrific organization with one goal, to raise money for cancer research, to help people. So to be selected by them for this grant is very special.”

The FDNY’s medical offices have provided medical care to more than 16,000 FDNY members who worked at the World Trade Center site since 2001, according to an FDNY statement.

"These doctors were the first to recognize respiratory disease in those who worked at the site as well as document a spike in certain cancers occurring in this group," FDNY officials noted.

“This is a great day for the Department,” FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Prezant said. “Thank you to the V Foundation for their unending commitment to our members.”

The V Foundation, named in honor of the late Jim Valvano, N.C. State basketball coach and ESPN commentator, has funded more than $100M in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs, according to its website.

V officials said in a statement they hope the funding of this research will lead to earlier detection of blood-related cancers, resulting in increased survival rates for FDNY members and the public overall.

“We take this battle personally,” Nicholas Valvano, President Emeritus of the V Foundation, said. “There is a need here that just cried out. This is an important project for me, the FDNY and society as a whole.”

They made the donation on March 4, the 20th anniversary of their foundation.

The ceremony was held at FDNY headquarters and feet away from a plaque holds the names of 64 FDNY members who have lost their lives due to illnesses, including cancer, that were directly related to their work at the World Trade Center site.