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Crui$ing for cash

Title: Crui$ing for cash
Date: Thursday, 19 April 2007
Publisher: New York Post
Main source:

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April 19, 2007 — Scientology nut Tom Cruise is in New York to solicit more cash for his controversial venture to 'detox' the heroes of September 11.

As reported by the Post on April 6, Cruise, 44, will appear at a private gala on Manhattan's West 18th Street tonight to raise funds for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a program he co-founded in 2002.

His wife, Katie Holmes, is also expected to be at the dinner, starting at 6 p.m.

Guests are paying as much as $100,000 for a table for eight.

"Nearly six years later, many are still paying a price for their heroic service at the World Trade Center. This is a profound injustice," Cruise told The Associated Press.

"This project has demonstrated that recovery is not only possible, but an incontrovertible fact."

The program — based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's principles — offers free treatment to cops, firefighters and paramedics who suffer breathing difficulties and other health issues after exposure to toxins at Ground Zero following the 2001 terror attacks.

Participants are given vitamins — including high doses of niacin to release fatty acids into the bloodstream — nutritional counseling and join daily exercise and sauna sessions of up to 180 degrees. The 'detox' takes about 30 days, director Jim Woodworth said.

He said 785 workers had been treated.

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Tom," Woodworth said.

Patrick Bahnken, president of the New York Fire Department's union of emergency workers and paramedics, said there was initial concern the program would include religious rhetoric, but it was secular and results had been positive.

"The majority of our members have reported an improvement in their quality of life," Bahnken told AP.

New York City officials say 400,000 people were exposed to Ground Zero dust and 71,000 have enrolled in a long-term health monitoring program for people with and without health problems. Most experts believe there are thousands of people still sick years after exposure.

Cruise's program — which had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds — hasn't been endorsed by the Fire or Police departments and has been described by some experts as little more than medical mumbo-jumbo.

"This is just hocus-pocus," Dr. Bob Hoffman of the New York City Poison Control Center told The Post in 2004. "For some people, sitting in a hot environment can be very dangerous."