NEW YORK (WPVI) -- Over the past several years, more and more volunteers from the World Trade Center disaster have been diagnosed with cancer, linked to their exposure to the toxic smoke and fumes rising from the rubble.
One of those people is Michael Dorian.
Dorian is suffering from a very rare form of skin cancer that surfaced years after volunteering to help the recovery effort after 9/11.
"I was literally standing next to one of the antennas on the ground, ground-level. I was pretty much in the thick of it," said Dorian.
Making matters worse, Dorian's insurance only covered a small percentage of his cancer treatments. He was quickly running out of money and hope.
"My one treatment, just the drug alone, is $104,000," he said. "That's just for one treatment, just one treatment of that drug."
Dorian knew he was eligible for the federal 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund, but officials from the VCF told him he needed to provide solid proof that he was really there.
That's when he remembered being interviewed by a television news reporter.
Dorian quickly called his friend New York City Police Detective Paul Federico for help.
"I got myself on the computer, I get Walter Perez's picture to pop up. I take a picture of it and I send it to Mike. Mike goes, 'That's him!'" said Federico.
Federico called Walter at 6abc. Walter reached out to his old news outfit to see if they could find the footage. It took about a week, but the station found it.
To be eligible for the VCF, it has to be proven a person was south of Canal Street in the days following 9/11. The video showed they were in that location.
"They were both standing south of Canal Street. They were both in the zone that you needed to be in," said Federico.
Dorian took a copy of that video to the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund, they approved him and now every penny of his cancer treatments is covered.
"Mike said he was down there, he did what he did," said Federico. "I had to exhaust every possibility, turn over every stone before I would give up. I wasn't going to give up on Mike."
But Dorian says he is still haunted by the fact that his story is only one among many.
"What I'm worried about is there are other civilian first responders that were here, that did do work, that are now sick that don't have the proof I have," he said.
For more information on the World Trade Center Health Program call (888)982-4748.
To learn more about the federal 9/11 Victims' Compensation Fund contact Jeannie Kelly at (888) 702-0630.
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Reporter's video helps 9/11 victim receive compensation
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