NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An FDNY hero firefighter is now the one who needs help as he battles a 9/11-related cancer.
Retired firefighter Brian Kevan says he didn’t hesitate on 9/11 when the call came in for help, rushing to Ground Zero and then afterwards working in the toxic rubble during the search-and-recovery efforts.
Now, he’s fighting the fight of his life and is need of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.
“I got there after the second collapse, about a half hour after the second collapse, and you just never thought about should I be here? Should I not be here? Why am I here? You just knew you were there as a rescuer to rescue somebody, get somebody out of the pile and bring them home,” Kevan told CBS2’s Thalia Perez.
Almost two decades later, in 2019, the 52-year-old was diagnosed with lymphoma and retired from Engine 221 in Williamsburg. Since then, he has undergone numerous rounds of chemo and other treatments, and nothing has worked.
Over the summer, his team decided he was in need of a bone marrow transplant, and he says he immediately leaned on his FDNY family.
“The family is the firehouse. You know that if I fall backwards, they’re gonna catch me and they’re gonna carry me to the end. They’ve proven that over and over again,” Kevan said.
He says they’ve taken their search to social media and swab events in search of the perfect bone marrow match.
As a result, at least 200 kits have been sent in to Be The Match, a nonprofit that connects patients with donor matches, and the firehouse isn’t his only source of support.
During some of the most difficult moments during treatment, nurse Meg McCormick from the World Trade Center/FDNY oncology team has also been by his side.
“Ultimately, I say, ‘Meg, I couldn’t do this without you.’ And she says, ‘Oh, you can do anything,’” Kevan said. “Good or bad on the results, it’s always good from her. She’s always positive. When I’m low, she’s bringing me up.”
She says his strength inspires her.
“He’s very caring. He’s gone through a lot. He’s always willing to give to others,” McCormick said.
The next swab event is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Miller’s Ale House in Commack.
To join Be The Match’s registry, click here. Potential bone marrow donors must be between 18-40 years old and in good health.
If you would like to help Kevan, text FDNYBRIAN to 61474.
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CBS2’s Thalia Perez contributed to this report.
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