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WTC cop also needs prayers

The family of dying former cop Cesar Borja asked New Yorkers to pray for him yesterday - and his doctor urged other rescuers who breathed Ground Zero dust to get a checkup.

"I just want prayers from everybody for my husband's recovery," Eva Borja, 47, said yesterday at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "He's still young. My kids are still young. We all need him."

Borja, 52, volunteered for 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero for months after 9/11, never wearing a respirator. His family blames his pulmonary fibrosis on exposure to the dust at the site.

His doctor Maria Padilla said people who inhaled the toxic fog at Ground Zero should be evaluated regularly by their doctors.

"It's very important that they be monitored," she said. "We do not have therapy for this disease. The prognosis for this disease is poor."

At least four other Ground Zero rescuers have died of pulmonary fibrosis, and Borja's only hope is a lung transplant. But the father of three can't get on the transplant waiting list until he beats infections that have left him unconscious and in critical condition.

Some 9/11 responders who read about Borja's plight in yesterday's Daily News plan to rally outside Mount Sinai tomorrow to show support for Borja - and to demand that more be done for ailing rescuers.

Originally published on January 17, 2007

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