What to Know
- Retired NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez saved people from the rubble on 9/11 is suffering from colon cancer in hospice care, but has one wish
- The day after he gave emotional testimony on Capitol Hill, Alvarez’s liver shut down and doctors told him there was nothing they could do
- Alvarez is still speaking out with one final plea: Permanently extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Bill for fellow first responders
A former NYPD detective who saved people from the rubble on 9/11 is suffering from colon cancer in hospice care, but he is still speaking out with one final plea: Permenently extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Bill, so his fellow first responders can get the health coverage they need.
Retired Det. Luis Alvarez went down to Capitol Hill, along with Jon Stewart and other 9/11 survivors and first responders, just days ago to demand Congress extend the funding. He gave emotional testimony that riveted the nation and Capitol Hill, one day before his 69th round of chemotherapy, he said.
The day after he gave that emotional testimony, Alvarez’s liver shut down and doctors told him there was nothing more they could do to treat the cancer he got 16 years after saving anyone he could from the heaping piles death and destruction.
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“On 9/11 when we went in, we didn't ask the person lying on the ground whether they were Democrat or Republican or any affiliation,” said Alvarez. “We tried to save lives, and that's the way it should be.”
The former Marine and 20-year veteran of the NYPD never wanted the spotlight, but now he’s forcing himself to speak out until his last breath — but it’s not for him, as he says he and his family are covered. It’s for all the others who went into the cloud of smoke and ash before and after him, to make sure they are taken care of.
“That’s my ultimate goal, legacy, is to have this bill passed so first responders have the coverage they need,” said Alvarez.
As he knows his fate is imminent, Alvarez says that he is “at peace” with everything, because he is not in pain and he can still “work from my bedside, I can still put the word out.”
And as for his family, Alvarez has a simple message for them: He just wants to make sure they’re going to be okay.
“Let them know that dad did everything he could to help people. And I told ‘em: You start a job, you finish it. Your word is your bond, and be a man, always be a man about it. So my legacy to them is dad did his best. Never quit, no matter how hard things got. Dad never quit.”