A New York man who volunteered on September 11 and is now battling cancer linked to his time at ground zero is finally getting the help he needs after the News 4 I-Team helped find indisputable proof he was there that day.
"It was getting to the point where I was wondering if people didn't believe me," said Michael Dorian, who has stage four skin cancer, after the discovery of an interview he did with News 4 New York in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 12, 2001.
The video was needed to secure benefits for Dorian from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund, which is on guard for fraudulent claims, requires more proof than the World Trade Center Health Program, which was already covering Dorian’s health care.
"Not everything is covered by the World Trade Center Health Program. There are some things and experimental treatments that just aren’t covered," said Dorian’s attorney Matthew McCauley. "Michael’s cancer is pretty advanced and significant so he is somebody who’s in that position where he may have to start looking at experimental treatments."
NYPD Detective Paul Federico, who befriended Dorian when he volunteered as an auxiliary police officer after 9/11, was integral in finding the video. He tracked down the now-former News 4 New York reporter who interviewed Dorian, a key step in finding the video.
"I’m glad that Mike is now covered, but Mike still has cancer," said Federico. "I’m hoping that they can find a cure for that. That’s what I’m hopeful for."
While Dorian undergoes treatment, he’s also on a mission to help other first responders.
"I can relax in knowing that everything's covered – and enjoying the time that I have left and making the most out of that," he said. "This is my moment to continue my first responder work."
"I want to inform and educate people to take care of themselves, to look into the Victim Compensation Fund, look into the World Trade Center Health Program, and hopefully, if they’re suffering from illness or a situation that’s impeding their health, they can find some coverage, some relief, some peace like I did."
It’s estimated that 400,000 people were in Lower Manhattan (south of Canal Street) after 9/11 – and could qualify for the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical and mental health services at no cost. But to date, only about 83,000 people have signed up.
For more information on the World Trade Center Health Program – and how to apply – visit https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/index.html.