TAMPA (FOX13) - On September 11, 2001, countless lives were changed, including Garrett Goodwin's.
The Tampa first responder knew on that day there was one place he had to be. So he drove north, to New York City.
"I knew going down that highway, going to that site, I knew I wouldn't come back the same person," he said.
Now, 14 years later, more than memories haunt the 38-year-old.
"There were so many unknowns (but) we made that choice. Now me and thousands of first responders are sick and dying," he said.
"I have a lot of stuff: COPD, sleep apnea, asthma," he said.
And most recently: pulmonary hypertension. They're all from breathing in the toxic air on 9/11 while trying to save lives.
"Right now, my heart has to work 10 times as hard to push oxygenated blood through my lungs and make that exchange to feed my body," he said.
Doctors have told him he may only have seven years left to live. Monday, he flew to the world famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for special treatment.
"If there's something I can do for me, or if there's something they can do (to help) other responders, mission accomplished," he said.
The government is paying for his care, but Goodwin has set up an online fund to help deal with his bills and expenses.
He's been called a hero, now he's the one in need of help.
"This is my new war. I'm ready to go to battle to live," he said.