State trooper dies of cancer linked to 9/11 response
A state trooper who got sick after serving as a first-responder to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center has died.
State Police announced late Wednesday night Lt. Bill Fearon had died of cancer. Last year, he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma — a malignant brain tumor. Three days later, he underwent surgery and continued to fight the cancer until he died early Wednesday, State Police said.
Last year, NorthJersey.com reported at the time, he struggled to remember key words in sentences and he experienced times of split vision.
"My wife (Janice), who is a nurse, actually thought I was getting ready to have a stroke because I was working a lot of hours at two jobs," Fearon said at the time, according to that report. "I came out of the MRI, she was on the ground, bawling, and all of a sudden I'm like, 'oh boy.'"
Surgens were successful in removing the "enhancing portion of the tumor," that report said, but he needed continued treatment. Because the tumor was located in an area of the brain that affects speech, he was awake for his surgery and underwent tests to make sure his speech and thinking were maintained.
"Even during this difficult time, Bill maintained his sense of humor, positive attitude and can-do spirit," State Police wrote in an announcement of his death. "Bill put it best when he stated, 'Every day I put my feet on the ground and I look forward to winning. This is the mindset that I have, it’s about living without fear.'"
Fearon personally handed out hundreds of “No Fear” wristbands to family, friends and acquaintances during his struggle to show he would never give up his fight, State Police said.
"A State Trooper for 21 years, Bill has led a life of public service, protecting and serving others," a GoFundMe page established last year to raise money for his family reads. "Bill’s dedication to others has always gone beyond the uniform. Bill can always be found in the community coaching sports, lending a helping hand at an event, or just being there for a friend in need. His greatest joy is being with his best friend and wife of 23 years, Janice, and their three amazing children Ryan, 18; Elyse, 16; and Jessie, 12."
Dozens of new donations have been made since Fearon's death. The GoFundMe stood at more than $60,000 of a $100,000 goal as of late Thursday morning.
Fearon had been a member of the 114th State Police class, graduating on Sept. 23, 1994. He served his entire career within the Division’s Field Operations Section, including Troops B and D.
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