9/11 first responder pleading for help on billboards, fighting for medical coverage

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Jim Dolan has the story.

A 9/11 first responder is pleading for help and doing it on two electronic billboards near MetLife Stadium.

Michael Megna spent three weeks on the pile after the terror attacks.

He was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease.

It's so rare it's not on the list of health problems covered by the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.

He's now fighting to have it listed so he and others like him can get the help they need.

"I have a disease," Megna said.

Megna's disease is robbing him of his strength. It may, in time rob him of his life.

"They'll certify my disease when I'm dead, when everyone else is dead," Megna said.

It's called monotypic atypical anti-GBM nephritis. His bone marrow is attacking his kidneys. It's extremely rare and Mr. Megna believes he got it because he volunteered at Ground Zero after 9/11.

"I did search and rescue, I looked in buildings, I looked in rubble, I did the bucket brigade, I did it for approximately three weeks," Megna said.

The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund pays medical bills and more for those people who got sick from working or living downtown during those weeks and months, but Megna's condition is not recognized as being caused by the toxins from 9/11. Some doctors disagree.

In one letter, a doctor says the condition was "caused or exacerbated" by his exposure to those toxins.

Another wrote his condition was "aggravated, exacerbated, and accelerated" by exposure to 9/11 toxins.

A third doctor wrote "exposure to 9/11 toxins may, more likely than not, be related" to his kidney disease.

None of that has helped him get coverage from the 9/11 victims' compensation fund.

Mr. Megna has worked hard his whole life. He was a Marine for four years, he was a police officer for a while, and for several years ran a scrap metal business, but that's hard physical labor and he's much too weak for that now.

"I can't pick that stuff up now. I'm too weak for that," Megna said.

Megna has three children. They are about to lose their home.

"How close are you to losing this house," Eyewitness News Reporter Jim Dolan asked.

"I lost it. They want me out. I'm out. I'm out," Megna said.
Related Topics:
healthseptember 11thworld trade centerNew York City
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