By Susan Edelman New York Post
On 9/11, NYPD officer Robert Joseph Martin was far from home – in Indiana helping friends perform a benefit concert for a girl with cancer.
But he joined a high-speed convoy of law-enforcement officers racing from the Midwest to Ground Zero, arriving about 5:30 a.m. the next day.
“For the next three weeks we worked on and off at the site recovering body parts, digging sometimes with our hands in the pile,” he said.
Now Martin desperately needs help.
At age 42, his kidneys have failed, and he faces a grueling regimen on dialysis unless he gets a transplant.
The once healthy cop — who joined the NYPD in 1995 and wore the same shield as his retired father — started getting sick in 2003 with a severe musculoskeletal disease. He was forced to retire in 2005, his condition worsening.
“They did not know what was wrong with me and this was very frustrating,” Martin said. He was hospitalized nearly 20 times and underwent numerous surgeries.
In 2007, Martin was diagnosed with an aggressive kidney disease.
This month, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported the first evidence of a link between inhaled toxins at Ground Zero and kidney damage.
“It gives him some form of relief and satisfaction knowing that his illness is being recognized from his heroic actions on 9/11 and the months after,”said Martin’s wife, Rosemary, a flight attendant who was working on 9/11.
The couple have two children, ages 7 and 10.
“I always had trouble asking people and friends for help,” Martin said. “But with small children, my priorities and pride have to change.”
Interested donors with a B negative or O blood type can call Lori Berg at Westchester Medical Center, 914-493-1990.