FALMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 16 thousand New York firefighters were exposed to toxins in the rubble of the World Trade Center on 9-11 and in the months and years of digging that followed.
So were other first responders and recovery crews.
The particulate matter in the air was coated with PCB's, asbestos and a host of other known carcinogens.
10 thousand of those 16 thousand firefighters have been certified as having at least one of the health problems directly caused by breathing in that air. 1600 hundred... 10 percent... have been diagnosed various forms of cancer and 127 responders have died... their deaths directly related to 9-11.
This year... on the 15th anniversary of 9-11, some firefighters worry that their continuing sacrifice is going unnoticed. That people are forgetting -- or are at least unaware -- that people are still suffering and dying and will continue to for years to come.
One New York City firefighter and his wife, who now live in Maine, are devoting themselves to making sure the families left behind are taken care of... and that people continue to Never Forget.
Kevin Hogan has pre-cancerous cells in his esophagus, polyps in his sinuses, chronic bronchitis and asthma, among other afflictions.
Hogan can't even attend a barbecue without his throat closing up.
The cough, which they all call the World Trade Center cough, started just days after 9-11.
Most of the people who worked at the site of the collapsed towers have it. For some, it has progressed to become more serious and deadly illnesses. That includes 50 different forms of cancers, all linked to the toxins surrounding the WTC site.
While he can't work anymore, Hogan wants to continue to contribute. He and his wife Katie have started a charity called the Never Forget Project.
They are selling specially designed t-shirts and will hold several fundraisers in the coming months to raise awareness and money for those affected and those they leave behind.
All the money raised will be split between three existing charities for 9-11 affected families: Friends of Firefighters, Tuesday's Children, and Camp Kieve, which continues to hold camps for families and first responders all these years later.
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