Chef who fed 9/11 responders needs cancer treatment

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — John Moogan said he’ll always remember the call from his brother on the night of Sept. 11, 2001. “The NYPD Emergency Service Units were staging t…

Nov 18, 2022 - 22:00
May 16, 2024 - 20:03
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Chef who fed 9/11 responders needs cancer treatment

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) -- John Moogan said he'll always remember the call from his brother on the night of Sept. 11, 2001.

"The NYPD Emergency Service Units were staging their search and rescue teams from the lobby of the building my brother managed," Moogan said.

"And he said they couldn't get any food, and the Red Cross wasn't set up. I worked at the Red Lion on Bleecker and Thompson in the Village, and he asked if I could come down and start running the food downtown."

Moogan, who worked his way up from dishwasher to chef in a 40-year career, said he was glad to help in some way and brought seven trays to the hungry officers, starting the next day.

About ten years later, Moogan was diagnosed with lung cancer and initially attributed it to smoking.

"I thought I did it to myself," Moogan, now 57, said. "Then, all of a sudden, I'm getting these immuno-diseases, and these cancers mutated and settled in my adrenals and lymph nodes."

Moogan recalled young interns at Memorial Sloan Kettering asked if his parents ever worked around heavy metals.

"And one kid said, 'Were you down at the World Trade Center? And I said, 'Yeah, I was,'" Moogan recounted.

That's when Moogan consulted a lawyer and sought entry into the World Trade Center Health Program.

In the interim, he continued treatment for his cancers at NYU Perlmutter in Manhattan. His nurse practitioner has been prepping him for a powerful, five-day course of radiation that's considered very effective. The appointment is set for Nov. 29.

But Moogan learned his wife's insurance wouldn't pay for the costly treatment and wanted him to sign up for something else.

"15 to 20 percent less effective," Moogan said.

While Moogan considered his options, he received a letter dated Nov. 7 from the World Trade Center Health Program administrator, Dr. John Howard.

"I've been accepted to the World Trade Center program as a responder," Moogan noted. "This miracle shows up and the problem is: I have to get screened within a month."

Moogan said he was having a hard time getting through to the health program's offices on First Avenue to make the appointment.

"I don't want anything more than just the chance to have my appointment moved up," Moogan said.

PIX11 News called John Feal, founder and president of the FealGood Foundation, who has worked tirelessly for two decades to get adequate health care and funding for 9/11 first responders and survivors who worked downtown.

"Mr. Moogan isn't the first person to have to deal with this issue," Feal told PIX11 News on the phone Friday night.

"It's an easy fix," Feal said, and told us Moogan could call him.

Moogan said he applied to the World Trade Center Health Program as a survivor, but the program redesignated him as a responder.

"They told me I'm a responder," Moogan said. "Maybe that gives me a chance to have my appointment moved up a little bit."

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