Catskill widow remembers husband after his cancer death linked to 9/11
More than 21 years since the 9/11 attacks, health effects still plague first responders and survivors.
On September 11, 2001 – the day of the attacks – 2,974 people died.
During the first 60 days since the attack, there were major complaints of ear, nose throat and respiratory issues. People flooded hospitals with these symptoms.
Right around that time, there signs of mental health struggles such as PTSD and anxiety.
Between five and nine months after the attack, doctors started seeing decreased fetal birth weight for babies of pregnant women impacted by 9/11. Respiratory issues started increasing.
In the first 10 years after the attack, cancer diagnoses started going up. Drug and alcohol abuse among survivors and first responders also went up.
Two decades later – cancer latency, the time between toxic exposure and signs of cancer. There are cases of mesothelioma and male breast cancer and other cancers.
These statistics hit close to home for the Catskill family of Sgt. Ivan Morales, who was laid to rest earlier this month.
Until recently, his wife, Kristi Morales, did not know the kind of work her husband did at Ground Zero. He was assigned to sort body parts from rubble.
The sergeant was a police recruit with the NYPD. He had a seizure 20 years later. The kids found him, and called 911.
It was a brain tumor – linked to his time working at Ground Zero.
He lived for two and half more years.
Mrs. Morales got a call from Nurse Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City on October 28, where her husband was being treated, saying he was nearing the end.
She quickly packed a bag to head to the cancer center, but she didn’t get there in time. Sgt. Morales died a short time after that phone call. He was 42.
More first responders have now died from the toxic exposure from 9/11, than were killed on that tragic day.
Morales says her husband refused to let his diagnosis bring him down.
Sgt. Morales has two children – Demetrios, 15, and Civana, 13.
Sgt. Morales loved the Yankees. His son is quite the baseball player.
He told his mom, now dad won’t miss any of his games, he’ll be watching from heaven.