WASHINGTON – Luis Alvarez, who urged a House panel to reauthorize funding for 9/11 first responders last week, has entered hospice care in his battle with cancer.
On Wednesday morning, Alvarez, a retired New York Police Department detective and 9/11 first responder, announced on Facebook that he had entered hospice care.
"Hello everyone, 'I’m still here and still fighting.' I just wanted to let you know, what is going on with me. Since you have been with me on this 3 year ride. I’m now in hospice, because there is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer."
He explained that "It had nothing to do with my trip to DC, that was just coincidence. The day after my trip I was scheduled for chemo, but the nurse noticed I was disoriented. A few tests later they realized that my liver had completely shut down because of the tumors and wasn’t cleaning out the toxins in my body and it was filling up with ammonia, hence the disorientation."
As a result, "Now I’m resting and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time."
On June 11, Alvarez, former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and other advocates, testified before Congress to call for the reauthorization of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). The fund created after 9/11 helps pay for medical and economic losses as a result of the terrorist attacks. The fund is running out of money and is being forced to make drastic cuts to its payments to 9/11 victims and their families unless it is reauthorized.
"Less than 24 hours from now I will be starting my 69th round of chemotherapy, yeah, you heard that correctly…I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else," Alvarez testified.
Alvarez's Facebook page has regular updates on his cancer treatment and advocacy on behalf of 9/11 first responders. In a post on May 29, Alvarez discusses his 68th round of chemotherapy treatment.
"I’ve been doing a lot of research for supplements for liver cancer, just in case I decided to stop doing chemo. After 68 rounds I’m not getting the results I think I should," he wrote.
The day after Alvarez and Stewart spoke, legislation to permanently reauthorize the fund passed the House Judiciary Committee. It now goes to consideration by the full House. It is unclear if it will pass the Republican-controlled, Senate, though. Jon Stewart has been vocal in his criticism of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of using the 9/11 first responders as a "political pawn" rather than moving faster to pass the reauthorization legislation.
McConnell, for his part, said in a Fox News interview last Monday that "there is no way we won't address this problem appropriately. We have in the past. We will in the future."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 9/11 first responder who testified with Jon Stewart in Congress enters hospice care