NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A retired NYPD detective, who testified during an emotional Capitol Hill hearing about reauthorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund last week, is refusing to give up the fight even though his health has taken a turn for the worse.
Just a week after traveling to Washington to call on Congress to renew the fund, Lou Alvarez is now in hospice care.
The 53-year-old, who worked a bucket brigade at Ground Zero after 9/11, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer two years ago. After 68 rounds of chemo, his liver has completely shut down and doctors now say there is nothing else they can do.
But Alvarez is vowing to fight for 9/11 responders until his final breath.
"As long as I have the strength to keep fighting and keep this in the spotlight, I'm going to keep doing it," Alvarez told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell on Friday.
He has already received his VCF payment, so this is for others.
"Becaue there's going to be guys after me who are going to have it worse," Alvarez said.
Sitting up in a chair with a Yankees hat on his head, Alvarez spoke softly, but passionately about getting the bill passed. He has a pointed message for Congress: "Give us what we justly deserve -- nothing more, nothing less. What is so difficult of taking care of your patriot Americans who ran in to do what they had to do to save people's lives?"
The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and moves to the full House for a vote next month, but it faces a battle in the Senate.
If he had the chance to talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Alvarez said he tell him, "Sir, we have to put partisan politics aside and take care of the first responders."
It's not clear exactly how much time he has left, but Alvarez is intent on fighting.
His family is with him, every step of the way.
"I've always been proud of my father, I've always been proud to be his son and I am even more so now seeing the strength, and tenacity and the perserverance that he's shown in making this his mission," his 29-year-old son, David, said.