Sick 9/11 firefighter joins bone marrow donor drive

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On the eve of the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks, a local retired firefighter who survived the tragedy, but was diagnosed with cancer in the aftermath, is desperately searching for a bone marrow donor.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Roy Chelsen was in downtown Manhattan with his fellow firefighters. Dressed in his FDNY gear, he went inside the smoldering World Trade Center towers to help others else escape to safety.

Unlike six of his colleagues from his firehouse, Chelsen survived, but possibly due to exposure to toxic dust at ground zero, he became ill with a severe form of bone marrow cancer.

?They're giving me chemo to keep everything in check, but the ultimate goal is I need a stem-cell transplant to cure it,? he says.

Doctors still haven't found a donor whose bone marrow would match Chelsen?s. So now he and his wife Trish are joining a drive, they say, for the sake of everyone who is battling the illness.

?If we don't find a match for me, maybe we'll find a match for some little kid,? Chelsen says.

Since his diagnosis, Chelsen has not let cancer slow him down. Over the past three years, he and his wife have been renovating an old farmhouse while he was undergoing treatment.

?Not many people that I know could go through the hardship and the tragedy that Roy has gone through and be able to stand tall and fight this cancer,? his wife says.

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