Today’s news:

Ailing 9/11 Bayside officer needs lung transplant to live

Cesar Borja, 52, was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital before Christmas for pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that scars the lungs. He was transferred to intensive care on Jan. 8. Borja is now hooked up to a breathing tube, unconscious."He's unable to speak right now," said his son, Ceasar, 21. "He's heavily sedated, so he's just asleep."Borja, a 20-year NYPD veteran who worked at the 109th Precinct in Flushing and the College Point auto pound before retiring in 2003, needs a lung transplant to survive. But he is not even on the transplant list yet. His condition deteriorated before doctors could finish a series of medical tests that determine whether a patient is eligible for a lung transplant."So far he's passed every single test," Ceasar Borja said. "Unfortunately, on the day he was admitted, which was last Monday, that was the day he was supposed to take the last and final test."His doctors planned to meet this Thursday to see if they could bypass the final test and place him on the transplant list immediately. The Borjas have lived in Bayside since 1998. Cesar Borja came to the United States from the Philippines in the 1970s "for a better life," his son said. He found that starting a family in Queens and working as a police officer, protecting the streets of his new home. On Sept. 11, 2001, Borja was among the thousands who rushed to Ground Zero. He worked there for five months, pulling 16-hour shifts three days a week. His family believes the dust he inhaled there caused the fibrosis that is now destroying his left lung. They are appealing to the public in the hope that it will somehow speed the miracle they need to keep their father alive. Ceasar Borja said he is hopeful that public support, combined with the fact that his father needs only one lung will help get him the transplant."Without a lung, he has no chance of survival," Ceasar Borja said. "That's his only hope."Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 174.

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