NEW YORK CITY - This year's 9/11 memorial offers hope and relief for some of the sickest people who lived or worked at the World Trade Center. Many who have cancer will start receiving federal financial assistance soon.
Ray Pfeifer is a 9/11 cancer survivor with a long scar that runs down his left leg. Kidney cancer has left this New York City fireman with a metal hip and thigh bone. He blames the disease on the months he spent at ground zero, searching for men he worked with and loved.
Pfeifer has paid thousands in co-payments, medicines and tests.
When his cancer spread in March, fellow firefighters held a fundraiser to help him pay for a new, metal shoulder.
The federal government had not included cancer in its list of diseases directly related to 9/11, so Pfeifer was shut out of the Victim Compensation Fund.
Philip Landrigan tracks how many people have gotten sick from the air since 9/11. He anticipates more cancer cases.
Pfeifer says he won't hold his breath for financial help from the government, even as he worries his stage four cancer has spread to his lungs.
Three separate studies recently found those who lived and worked around ground zero were 15 to 20 percent more likely to get cancer. Those with cancer can start applying for federal financial services in about a month.