Duncan is one of only four people alive with a rare type of cancer, and his entry into the trial was put on hold because of the shutdown. His fight paid off on Monday when he boarded a plane bound for Maryland where doctors gave him potentially lifesaving medication that isn't available outside of the trial.
"This holds so much promise this drug, in the fact that there are other people out there who could utilize it. Without it they may die. They're certainly in a fragile condition right now, and I pray that they will be able to get an opportunity as well," he said upon his return to the Capital Region on Tuesday.
Now Duncan says he's determined to not let other people fall through the cracks if lawmakers find themselves in a similar situation.
"That these experimental treatments that he's going to be a part of, these trials, that they're successful, this is part of the reason why that we need the government open," says Congressman Chris Gibson.
Duncan received his 288th blood transfusion on Thursday.
"If I didn't get these today, and I had to go through this weekend -- I might not make it," he says.
But other critical patients found themselves coming up short during the shutdown because they were denied access to medication through clinical trials. That's why Duncan says the country can no longer gamble with lives if the government is shutdown.
"These people need to be protected, and the only way to protect them is to say this is an essential service, for now and forever," he says.
It's something Gibson acknowledges.
"Well that's certainly something that should be looked at in great detail," he says.
It's an effort Duncan refuses to give up on.
"The ultimate goal, and were going for it, and we will not stop, we will go forward until it's achieved," he says.
He adds that he will continue to reach out to his congressman and senators in hopes of rallying support to make NIH personnel completely essential.
Duncan will return to Maryland every four weeks, and he'll meet with doctor's locally every week to track his condition.
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Compiled below is a list of current snow emergencies around the Capital Region area. Village of Catskill – Beginning on Saturday, December 14, all vehicles should be parked on the even side of VillageMore >>
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WHITEHALL, N.Y. – A boil water notice is in effect for all users of the Village of Whitehall Water System beginning Monday night as crew work on a water leak. The notice begins at 10 p.m. on DecemberMore >>
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GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. -- Gloversville Police are investigating a report of a possible child lure attempt on Thursday night. On December 12, at about 6 p.m. a child walking on East Fulton Street near CedarMore >>
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TROY, N.Y. – The Sage Colleges will observe a moment of silence Friday in honor of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung and the other students who lost their lives during the Sandy Hook shootings in DecemberMore >>
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COLONIE, N.Y. – Colonie Police are investigating the possible luring of a child on Thursday afternoon. According to police, the incident occurred on December 12 at about 4:30 p.m. A 12-year-old boy reportedMore >>
Colonie Police are investigating the possible luring of a child on Thursday afternoon.More >>
WEST SAND LAKE, N.Y. - There is a massive barn fire in West Sand Lake Thursday night. The fire is on 214 Thais Road. There are multiple fire departments on the scene, battling the fire. NEWS10 ABC hasMore >>
The owner of the barn that caught fire Thursday night died while trying to save horses trapped in the structure.More >>