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(Windows media video)



Sebastian Raspanti
(from testimony before the New York City Council)

I am a firefighter.

On, September 11, 2001, my company was called to the World Trade Center. Our engine company was stopped at the midway point of the Brooklyn Battery tunnel, and we were forced to proceed on foot to the disaster site. Inside the tunnel we were bombarded with smoke dust and debris. We couldnít see well through the dust and had to put our shirts over our mouths to be able to breathe.

After working at the site for over 60 days I was physically weakened. My lungs did not have the same capacity as before. I went from being an athlete to feeling like I couldnít do the things I used to. I couldnít run, play hockey, or go up a flight of stairs without experiencing shortness of breath.

In addition to continually feeling tired and weak, I was angry and depressed. The way I dealt with this was to become sullen and quiet. This had a very bad effect on my relationships with my family and friends. I became forgetful and had trouble thinking clearly.

I was not very optimistic about the future. There was no enjoyment in life. This bothered me greatly as I was only 31 years old, with a wife and small daughter.

I started the detoxification program on November 11, 2002. While on the program I experienced a dramatic change in my overall attitude and my mood.

The best description I can give is that after completing the program, I felt more comfortable in my own skin. I was no longer tired, depressed, angry, or sullen. I sleep like a baby now!

I was also much sharper mentally. It was unbelievable to me how much my short and long term memory had improved. My family and friends noticed that I was back to my old self.

The improvements in my physical health were also dramatic. I became strong again. I could exercise and play sports like I did before 9/11. I no longer had headaches.

After this program, I became a better father, husband, son and friend. My future looks bright and I am not overwhelmed by life like I was prior to the detox and after 9/11. I had no idea how this program could have renewed every aspect of who I am! This includes physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

The events of September 11 were terrible, and I know that they contributed to my falling into a negative state of mind. But it was more than that. In the months that I spent at Ground Zero, I could feel my body reacting to the smoke and dust.

As I went through the program, I began to feel clean again, and at the same time I went from feeling sick to feeling well, from feeling hopeless to feeling excited about the future.

Iíve seen many other firefighters have similar gains. I know this program works, and I think it should be available to any rescue worker who wants it. There is no reason they have to continue to feel bad year after year.

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