Members of the FDNY were honored to partner with representatives from the V Foundation for Cancer Research at FDNY Headquarters on March 4 to announce that the Foundation is bestowing a $1 million grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to study early detection of hematological cancers that effect first responders.
“Right now, there are too many of our members fighting this disease,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said. “And we know there will be far too many more that will develop cancer from their work, and ultimately, many who may lose their lives. That’s why this grant means so much to every single member of this Department.”
Chief of Department Edward Kilduff added, “This is a terrific organization with one goal, to raise money for cancer research, to help people. So to be selected by them for this grant is very special.”
The FDNY’s medical offices have provided medical care to more than 16,000 FDNY members who worked at the World Trade Center site since 2001. These doctors were the first to recognize respiratory disease in those who worked at the site as well as document a spike in certain cancers occurring in this group.
The V Foundation has funded more than $100 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The Foundation distributes grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board.
The group says they hope the funding of this research will lead to earlier detection of blood-related cancers, resulting in increased survival rates for FDNY members and the public overall.
“This is a great day for the Department,” FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Prezant said. “Thank you to the V Foundation for their unending commitment to our members.”
At the ceremony, many FDNY members referenced the plaque in the lobby of Headquarters that currently holds the names of 64 FDNY members who have lost their lives due to illnesses, including cancer, that were directly related to their work at the World Trade Center site.
And just feet away from where the ceremony was held is the plaque for Fire Marshal Steve Mosiello, who responded to the World Trade Center tragedy with Chief of Department Peter Ganci. FM Mosiello died from an aggressive form of cancer he developed due to his work at the site.
“We take this battle personally,” Nicholas Valvano, President Emeritus of the V Foundation, said. “There is a need here that just cried out. This is an important project for me, the FDNY and society as a whole.”
The announcement came on the 20th anniversary of the start of the V Foundation.
“This is all about giving back and prevention,” CEO of the V Foundation, Susan Braun said. “This is something that’s close to our hearts. We’re working together to save lives.”