Thirteen years after working tirelessly on the rescue and recovery efforts in the days and weeks that followed the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, 54-year-old firefighter Jimmy Martinez, is in need of a hero of his own.
“I knew that there was potential for great harm, but I just didn’t think it would come in the form of cancer as multiple myeloma years later,” Martinez told FoxNews.com. “So now I’m no longer fighting fires, I’m basically fighting for my life, hoping for a donor.”
Martinez, a veteran of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) with close to 25 years on the job, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the blood cancer in June 2013 – a result, he said, of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.
“It was devastating … the rug was being pulled from under me. I was otherwise healthy, always took care of my body … and now it was something that was beyond my control,” Martinez said. “It affected me knowing that I had my whole life planned out ahead of me with my family and grandchildren, and I possibly wouldn’t be there now.”
In multiple myeloma, a group of plasma cells becomes cancerous and multiplies, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. The disease causes symptoms that can affect your bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count.