Things That Matter

Three Years After Cancer Diagnoses, Luis Alvarez, A 9/11 First Responder, Dies At 53

On June 11, Jon Stewart testified in front of Congress, and he was pissed. The former “Daily Show” host and fierce advocate of Sept. 11 first responders spoke angrily to the politicians that showed up (not all of them attended). He demanded the government approve funds to pay cancer-stricken first responders and to help families who lost loved ones because of their work in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.” He added, “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak—to no one. Shameful, it’s an embarrassment to this country, and it is a stain on this institution,” Stewart said. “You should be ashamed of yourselves for those who aren’t here, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”

One of those sick responders who was there alongside Jon Stewart was Luis Alverez.

Credit: @Bobplaschke / Twitter

The 53-year-old New Yorker and former U.S. Marine and bomb-squad detective for the New York Police Department went to Ground Zero on his own accord to help look for survivors on rooftops of buildings where the towers used to be. His family said that Alverez was working in the area for weeks. According to the New York Daily News, more than 400 first responders worked at Ground Zero, many of them got sick years later. The 9/11 fund was created to help them pay for their medical bills and other needs. Now that fund is running out of money, which is why Stewart went to Congress to plead with them to keep the fund alive because so many are depending on it.

Alverez was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and his disease was linked to the work he did after 9/11.

Facebook/@lou.alvarez.31

“This came about pretty suddenly, without any warning signs,” David Alvarez said in 2017. “My father has always been someone I’ve looked up to (and) been inspired by,” and added, “It hit us hard.”

On May 29, Alvarez said he would stop chemo after 68 rounds.
“I had chemo today, and my blood work was a lot better,” he said on Facebook. “Tumor markers went down a little bit, but I attribute that to the herbal/holistic supplements I started taking. I’ve been doing a lot of research for supplements for liver cancer, just in case, I decided to stop doing chemo. After 68 rounds I’m not getting the results I think I should. Next Wednesday, I have a CT scan, and if it shows no improvement. I’m going to stop chemo and turn to the holistic route. I’m not quitting the battle, just taking a different approach.”

Now, Alvarez, at 53, has died after being in hospice care since he testified in front fo Congress.

Facebook/@lou.alvarez.31

“I just wanted to let you know, what is going on with me,” he said in a Facebook post on June 19th. “Since you have have been with me on this 3-year ride. I’m now in hospice because there is nothing else the doctors can do to fight the cancer. It had nothing to do with my trip to DC, that was just a coincidence. The day after my trip, I was scheduled for chemo, but the nurse noticed I was disoriented. A few tests later, they realized that my liver had completely shut down because of the tumors and wasn’t cleaning out the toxins in my body and it was filling up with ammonia, hence the disorientation. So now I’m resting, and I’m at peace. I will continue to fight until the Good Lord decides it’s time. I will try to do a few more interviews to keep a light on our fight for the VCF benefits we all justly deserve. Please take care of yourselves and each other.- God Bless-Lou.”

We have to demand Congress to keep fighting for the first responders who did a job so many people could not. They willingly put their lives on the line following the worst terror attack on U.S. soil and we owe them the dignity and respect heroes deserve. It is shameful that the treatment for the ailments they received that day are in question because of a Congress politicizing heroes who gave their lives to help others.

Rest in peace, Luis.

Your bravery will never be forgotten. You were an exceptional person and we thank you for your sacrifices on 9/11.

Watch his moving testimony below.

Click here for more information on the 9/11 First Responders Fund.

Thank you for all you did for our country, Luis. You’re a true hero.

READ: These 19 Celebrities Have Survived Cancer And Continue To Thrive In Their Lives And Careers

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

Things That Matter

At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Things That Matter

Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Months of investigations on Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani officially came to a head Wednesday morning.

The former New York City mayor’s dealings with Ukraine officials in 2019 have been under scrutiny for months by authorities who have been investigating allegations Giuliani lobbied for powerful Ukrainian interests. The investigations have also looked into claims that Giuliani also solicited the Ukrainian government for damaging information on President Joe Biden when he was running against Trump in the 2020 election.

There is also the matter of allegations that Giuliani attempted to find information on Biden’s son Hunter, who was part of the board of an energy company in Ukraine.

Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home on Wednesday morning.

The search was part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani‘s activities with Ukraine. According to The New York Times, “Prosecutors obtained the search warrants as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws as President Trump’s personal lawyer.”

Federal agents seized cellphones and other electronic devices as part of the investigation. The search warrant took place around 6 a.m. at Mr. Giuliani’s apartment on Madison Avenue and his Park Avenue office in Manhattan.

The execution of a search warrant against the former president’s lawyer is particularly shocking.

The warrant comes as a major development in the investigation that has been ongoing for some time and examines the former- mayor’s conduct during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“It was also a remarkable moment in Mr. Giuliani’s long arc as a public figure,” noted New York Times. “As mayor, Mr. Giuliani won national recognition for steering New York through the dark days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and earlier in his career, he led the same U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that is investigating him now, earning a reputation as a hard-charging prosecutor who took on organized crime and corrupt politicians.”

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