“I think a lot of people made a decision that [Muslim] people were all evil… People didn’t like the way they looked; they didn’t like the way they dressed. They kept to themselves. Well, they kept to themselves, because nobody made them feel comfortable, and they’re certainly not making them feel comfortable today.”
Patricia Workman has always loved to travel. She worked as a travel agent to earn moments to herself wandering the world. After the World Trade Center came down, she dropped everything to volunteer for the next two and half years. She dedicated her life to helping the responders and the families of the victims.
Years later, she started developing small fractures all over her body. In July of 2008 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer now covered by the federal World Trade Center Health Program, 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. “My life changed drastically. You know, I [couldn’t] travel anymore… I was breaking bones like crazy. I had fractures all over the place. I had undergone stem cell, [and] I was on maintenance medication for cancer.” When she underwent stem cell therapy, her skin “cancers became much, much worse. I literally at one time had almost 150 stitches on my face.”
Although Patricia can no longer travel freely she feels “very fortunate that in my travels I spent a great deal of time in the Middle East,” where she found the people “to be very wonderful, sociable, welcoming people who wanted the same things we want…They’re no different than we are.”
“Fear plays a big role… once people know each other, they’re not so fearful of each other, because everybody’s pretty much the same underneath it all.”
“I think we have to stop pointing fingers at people that have nothing to do with what’s going on. We have to stand together as Americans.... [Muslim] people are as American as you and I are, and they have to be made to feel that way.”