Luis Alvarez Pleads for Fellow 9/11 First Responders From Hospice Bed - NBC10 Boston
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Luis Alvarez Pleads for Fellow 9/11 First Responders From Hospice Bed

Appearing from his hospice bed, the gravely ill former NYPD detective made a final plea for Congress to extend health benefits for fellow 9/11 responders. "I'm not in a lot of pain. I have my family surrounding, and I'm at peace."

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    Luis Alvarez is fighting to help his fellow 9/11 first responders until his last breath. 

    The retired NYPD detective gave what may be the final interview of his life when he spoke with Fox News from his hospital bed in hospice care on Thursday, reiterating his plea to Congress to ensure that 9/11 first responders keep getting health care

    "It's been a little overwhelming,'' Alvarez told Fox News. "I'm a humble, under-the-radar kind of guy, and to have all this attention is a little strange, but I'll do whatever I have to do to see my brothers and sisters who aren't covered, get the coverage that they need and the help they need." 

    Alvarez, 53, received a standing ovation after his haunting testimony alongside comedian Jon Stewart before a House subcommittee on June 11 in which they pleaded for Congress to replenish the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund to ensure continued health benefits for first responders. 

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    Alvarez revealed in his testimony that he was scheduled to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016 that spread to his liver. He believes his illness stems from his work at ground zero for three months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

    "You made me come here the day before my 69th round of chemo, and I'm going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders,'' he said before the committee. 

    He then announced the tragic news on his Facebook page Thursday that "there is nothing else doctors can do to fight the cancer" so he has stopped treatment and entered hospice care

    "I'm doing well,'' he told Fox News. "I'm comfortable. I'm not in a lot of pain. I have my family surrounding, and I'm at peace." 

    The 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund is set to expire next year unless Congress acts. It still awaits approval from the full House of Representatives and then would need approval from the Senate to continue. 

    Alvarez's illness is one of thousands of cancer cases linked to the aftermath of 9/11, as first responders breathed in pulverized dust that contained cement, asbestos, lead, glass fibers, dioxins and other chemicals after the World Trade Center collapsed. 

    "Sixteen years later I got sick so it's an epidemic,'' Alvarez said. "There's gonna be more and more first responders getting sick, and the government has to take care of them." 

    Alvarez will continue to fight until his final day after spending almost three straight years getting regular chemotherapy treatments. 

    "I have no regrets,'' he said. "No regrets whatsoever."

    This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: