Update on a local man’s fight for cancer treatment

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SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. –  NEWS10 ABC brought you the story of a man whose health is affected by the government shutdown, now leaders are stepping up to ensure this man will continue fighting.

It's been an emotional week for Robert Duncan.  At first he felt left in the dark because of the government shutdown.  But now area leaders are responding to his concerns and one senator's office is doing everything they can to make sure he becomes a part of life-saving cancer research.

“Things like this are special, extraordinary, and we will go forward,” said Robert Duncan.  

A tearful Robert Duncan, a man fighting for his life, is overjoyed to hear his case at the National Institute of Health (NIH) will not get lost in the government shutdown.

“That's extraordinary, it's extraordinary, it really is,” said Duncan.

Late Friday evening Senator Charles Schumer's office told NEWS10 ABC “Our office has reached out to NIH about Mr. Duncan's situation and flagged his case in the hopes that it can be prioritized moving forward.”

“That's extraordinary, that's extraordinary, I don't know what to say,” said Duncan.

After initially not being able to speak with any local elected officials, NEWS10 ABC reached out to his members of congress on Thursday.  Then, early Friday afternoon, Duncan heard from Congressman Gibson's office, who said they “completely understand the urgency of his situation.”

On Friday he was also contacted by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand's offices, all offering to help.

“I wouldn't have believed in that short of period of time we could accomplish that much,” said Duncan.

He also heard from workers at NIH who told him his tests and samples that have been taken as part of his acceptance process will not be lost.

“The fact that all the tissue samples, the bone marrow, everything's there.  If I'm not, it can still go forward, that's, I don't know how to talk about the elation,” said Duncan.  “Things are there and they're safe.”

Duncan praises the quick response and those who have reached out to him offering support, ultimately hearing the words he's wanted to hear.

“The ultimate goal, the protection of a system, that protects the people most at risk that come for clinical trials, that's the important thing,” said Duncan.

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