Local fundraiser to help WTC rescue workers
Valley chiefs and local philanthropist raise funds for a detoxification program for Sept. 11 rescue workers injured by toxic exposures.By Veronica WhitneyDaily Staff WriterHe was among those who spent day after day at the World Trade Center site after the two planes crashed into the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The first day, the day of the attack, Israel Miranda, a rescue worker from New York City, spent 20 hours trying to find survivors. The second and third day, he was there 18 hours.Soon after that Miranda, 47, health and safety coordinator for Local 2507, the uniformed EMTs and Paramedics of the Fire Department of New York, realized he had a bad cough -now named the World Trade Center cough. He also had rashes and couldn’t sleep very well.Miranda, who is the union representative of 3,000 EMS workers from New York City, said he’s concerned about the health of the workers who helped with the recovery efforts.
“We already have sick people and we are concerned about what will happen in the future to them. We need to aggressively treat this now,” said Miranda, who will be among New York rescue workers who will come to Vail for next week’s fundraiser to benefit the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, which has helped nearly 300 Sept. 11 rescue workers overcome the effects of toxic exposures through a medically monitored regimen of exercise, sauna sweat-out, vitamins and minerals. According to Dr. James Dahlgren, who serves in the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project advisory board, the combined effect of the exposures from the WTC has been devastating to those exposed.”Benzene, heavy metals and other neurotoxic chemicals have damaged the central nervous system of the population,” he said. “There has been an epidemic of serious respiratory effects. There is an increased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.”But a detoxification program can help. Miranda and dozens of rescue workers have been through the program used by physicians to treat occupational and environmental exposures for more than two decades.”After five days in the treatment, I started sleeping better,” said Miranda, a graduate of the program. “And after 21 days, I had recover my usual energy. I have referred 15 of my members for treatment. They come back with their quality of life restored.”But the program, which government health plans don’t cover yet, can be expensive – from $5,000 to $10,000.
“The only way to afford the treatments at this point is through private contributions,” said Keith Miller, of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.Chiefs of the Vail, Eagle and Gypsum fire departments and the Eagle River Fire Protection District have joined local philanthropist Ron Pollack as co-hosts of the fundraiser benefiting 9/11 rescue workers injured by toxic exposures. “We have made a commitment to providing treatment to these men and women at no cost,” Pollack said. “The demand for our help has grown continuously over the last two years, and we’re asking Valley residents to help us reach as many of these men and women as possible.”Miranda said there are still hundreds of rescue workers and other citizens who were close to the WTC during the attacks, who can benefit of the detoxification program.Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.
Helping rescue workersWhat: Fund-raiser benefiting rescue workers injured by toxic exposures after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 28Where: The evening will begin with a New York Philharmonic concert at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater. Following the concert, a reception, buffet dinner and auction will be held at Vail Mountain Lodge’s Terra Bistro restaurant. Tickets to the concert and the reception are still available. The donation for the reception following the Philharmonic concert, including a buffet meal at the Terra Bistro restaurant, is $100. Premium seats for the concert are available. For more information, call Ron Pollack at 970-477-7494.