Family of Tri-State 9/11 first responder appealing for community’s help

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 1:16 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A long-time Hillsboro resident who was a first responder during 9/11 is battling stage 4 lung cancer and he says the medical costs are becoming too much for his family to afford.

“Breathing is very difficult. I cough a lot. Sometimes blood,” David Bliss said.

The 58-year-old says finding the strength to face each day is a battle.

“Can’t walk far. It’s difficult, It’s hard. I’m not looking for pity or anything, but you don’t know when your day is going to come now,” Bliss said.

It’s a way of life he’s had to deal with since volunteering to be a first responder and assist with search and recovery efforts at ground zero for more than a month after 9/11.

“Some of the memories are being able to bring a loved one home. To bring their remains back. That to me was worth it. So people could have closure. Knowing today that I would die of cancer, I would still do it all over again,” Bliss said.

Bliss says he was approved for health coverage through the World Trade Center Health Organization but when that happened, he lost his primary insurance.

Without his primary insurance, he doesn’t have a way to cover treatments for other ailments his cancer treatment and medications have caused.

“Due to being on Keytruda, it’s caused a lot of other medical issues like heart problems, bones, joint and muscle,” Bliss

“It’s taking a toll on him but it’s also taking a toll on me because I don’t want to see him die,” Bliss’s sister Debbie Brunk said.

The family has launched a GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000 to give the first responder the fighting chance at life befitting a hero.

“He fought to find people in a building that collapsed. And not only did the search and rescue, but he also did the cleanup. I want him to know that we’re here for you, no matter what, we’re here for you,” Brunk said.

“It’s a battle every day. I’m fighting it and I’m going to continue to fight it,” Bliss said.

Bliss has since moved to Nevada and is continuing his cancer treatments there. His wife says the hot desert air is better for his lungs.

If you’d like to support him on his road to recovery, you can find his GoFundMe on the web.

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