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 grandfather was stationed at Ft. Devens in the 1960s. His family consisted of his wife and six children. Two of the children (the two youngest) were born at Ft. Devens. I’m unaware of how long my family lived there.
In 1985, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in August of 1986. In 2004, my Aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had never been a smoker, exercised every day, ate impeccably, and was nurse. She died in April 2005 ( the day of her daughter’s 13th birthday) at age 41.
My uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September of 2011 and died four months later at the age of 47. He too, was in great shape, exercised regularly, and made it a point to eat healthy. My other uncle was diagnosed with lung and colon cancer. He died in his early 60s.
Perhaps none of these cancers were because of the carcinogens at Ft. Devens, but literally 50% of my mother’s family DIED from cancer. The one thing they all have in common is that they were residents at the base of Ft. Devens.
It is so sad that my cousins will never know their parents and the whole family has been ripped apart from our loved ones.
- Author resides in York, Pennsylvania
Note from the Editor: The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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