FealGood Foundation aims to help 9/11 sick and dying responders from their heroic actions on 9/11 and the days, weeks and months that followed after the horrifying day. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to spread awareness and educate the public about the fatal health effects on 9/11 first responders and provides assistance to lessen the pain and relieve these heroes from their financial burdens that was place on them over the last five years. The foundation’s second goal is to create a network of assistance for 9/11 healthcare issues. The FealGood Foundation does not only support Ground Zero workers but it also helps those who can support themselves and help others through basic changes.
Remembering 9/11 which is about to celebrate its 10th year certain saddening facts that was never provided to the country’s first responders was never realized. Almost everything about the 9/11 attack had been said and done but the first responders were left behind after all these years. However, the first responders during the horrifying day are still suffering from the aftermath.
What did really happened to all the brave volunteers, city police, firefighters and first responders who had become beacons of heroism in remembrance of 9/11?
During 9/11, 435 congressional districts in the 50 states of the country 431 of these districts were represent at ground zero by volunteers and first responders. About 90,000 volunteers and first responders worked and help out at ground zero. Over 40,000 of these first responders worked on the “pile,” the name given to the World Trade Center’s rubble pile.
70% of these 40,000 first responders are sick with cancer and respiratory illnesses related to the “pile” and almost all of them are suffering from some form of acid reflux disease. As of December 1, 2009, over 830 first responders have died from 9/11 related illnesses according to the New York Health Department of which 300 died from cancer while others died from respiratory complications, smoke inhalation disease, GURD, suicide and other related illnesses.
Many may ask, why cancer? Victims died of cancer because prior to 9/11 the World Trade Center is under the mandatory-by-law asbestos removal problem since all of the fireproofing and insulation in the towers was made from asbestos which causes cancer, respiratory illnesses and other complications when breath in by humans.
After the 9/11, the Twin Towers were pulverized and tons and tons of asbestos and other lethal, cancer causing particles were released into the air and was breathe by unsuspecting 9/11 first responders and those living in lower Manhattan.
The government closed their window on the first responders to enter a claim for the 9/11 related illness in 2002. Meaning, first responders with delayed symptoms were denied any kind of government assistance and are not able to pay their own healthcare and hospital bills.
In fact, Congress even created the $1 billion dollar fund from taxpayer’s money known as the “Captive Insurance Fund” in 2004 to be used in protecting the New York City governments from the law suits of sick and dying first responders with 9/11 related illnesses. Only 6 out of the thousands of first responder cases have been settled in court to a total of $300,000.
Heroes of 9/11 were denied their benefits and financial compensation and some of them were laid off from their jobs because of unrelated illnesses since many of them volunteered to work on the pile. Having no job, medical coverage, government benefits and help some of the first responders committed suicide as their last resort.
John Feal was working on the “pile” when an 8000 pound steel girder fell on his foot that permanently disabled him. It took him four and a half years before he finally got disability checks from the Social Security Administration. He suffers from Gastro-intestinal disease, respiratory complications, and has post-traumatic stress syndrome and was denied medical care or any government assistance and can no longer do his job due to his injury.
After seeing many of his friends and co-workers becoming ill and dying from these related illnesses and cancers, John decided to start the FealGood Foundation. He was hoping to support and expose the government’s inaction and negligence in its responsibility to the volunteers and first responders of 9/11.
Because of the FealGood Foundation, the government’s negligence had come to light. John, his foundation and its supporters force the issue to be addressed in Congress and were instrumental in introducing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R. 847), called the Zadroga Act. The bill will create a multi-billion dollar fund that will pay for all first responder’s health care bills, and provide continuing medical care for the sick and dying heroes, who no longer have medical care because they lost their jobs due to the illnesses because they volunteered to work at the World Trade Center site.
Now, because of John’s quest for justice, first responders and volunteers are now being treated in different hospitals from their 9/11 related illnesses and cancers on a continuing basis. Finally, the Zadroaga Act was also signed last January 2, 2011.
John Feal continuously campaigns for these forgotten heroes and through his FealGood Foundation many of the first responders who are seeking help had been responded to. Recently, New York senators sought Feal’s help on a bill that will provide a nationwide wireless network to allow first responders to talk which have dwindled for the last 10 years.