The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
My father was a Navy dentist and we were stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1974 – 1982. I went to Brewster Junior High, and graduated from Lejeune High School in 1980. In all, I lived at Lejeune and drank or bathed in the water for more than 6 years. My parents and younger brother were there for even longer.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, and she lost her battle with it in 1999 after a long and hard fight. My younger brother developed a brain tumor at around the age of 40. Thankfully, it turned out to be benign. I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April, and have undergone chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and will start radiation therapy soon.
Our story is not unique. Many of our old classmates from Lejeune, or their family members, have suffered or died from cancer as well. The numbers affected keep rising each year. The government has not taken responsibility for the criminal harm they have caused to our veterans, much less their dependents or civilian employees. Many have suffered without health benefits, and their families suffered without compensation for their deaths.
It is disgusting that the government has gotten away with this! In the private sector, billions of dollars would have had to be paid out to care for and compensate those poisoned. I am one of the few lucky ones it seems that has been approved for VA compensation of health costs – only after my health insurance has been exhausted! My breast cancer is one of the 12 covered diseases on the VA list, but they only pay out as a last resort! They still try to do everything possible to avoid taking responsibility for their crimes!!
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Florida. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.