For years, John Moogan worked as a chef. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, he went to work cooking for first responders who were working day and night at Ground Zero.
Moogan told NY1 his brother, who managed a building in lower Manhattan, called him on the night of Sept. 11, 2001.
“The ESU emergency service guys were using the lobby as a staging area for the search and rescue,” he recalls his brother telling him. His brother asked Moogan if he could bring them food, because they didn’t have any access to food while they worked through the wreckage at Ground Zero. “So we just started making food and so I brought a bunch of trays down on Wednesday.”
Moogan would deliver food to the building for three days, not knowing it would impact his health in the future. A little over a decade after the attacks, Moogan was diagnosed with cancer.
“I had ended up having five tumors in my right lung and I had my most of my right lung removed and chemo and chemo. And I had like two or three ribs removed so they could get in,” said Moogan.
Over the years, he would get treatment, but would always have to return for more. Finally, his doctors noticed something unusual.
“And they said I had this kind of rare, ultra rare immune disorder. But it shows up in the lungs. It looks like small cell lung cancer. It’s very rare in men,” Moogan said.
This led his doctors to realize his disease was related to 9/11. This prompted him to apply for the World Trade Center Health Program.
He says it took three years, but finally two weeks ago he received a letter from the World Trade Center Health Program saying he was approved and would receive benefits as a responder.
However, it may have come too late as Moogan is set to have an intense treatment by the end of the month.
He said his benefits through the World Trade Center Health Program won’t be available to him until he is screened, which is not scheduled until after the treatment he’s supposed to get in just days.
“This isn’t a matter of us curing anything. It’s just battling back. And what they want to do is they want to attack this one tumor on my adrenal gland, which is growing really big,” said Moogan. “I don’t want anything more than just the chance to get the radiation I need. That’s all.”
NY1 reached out to the World Trade Center Health Program and have not yet heard back.