Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cancer Cluster?

I have a problem that is haunting me.
I dreamt about it again last night.
This idea has been haunting me since I was twelve and a Nevada study found an increased incidence of childhood leukemia from increased radiation along power lines.
In seventh grade, I wrote on a test that cancer was caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
In the early 90s, this idea was wrong. Genetic Factors were not proven. I found the test moving out of my childhood house in 2004 and laughed, but even then we knew the environment played a role.
The cause of cancers, specifically blood cancer, has always eerily fascinated me, especially since they occur in young people in the prime of their lives.
And especially sinceI actually knew people close to me who had been diagnosed.
Now I'm not fascinated.
I’m devastated.
My heart is broken for Andy and his family.
It’s broken for Xander, who refuses to call him at night and gets so angry he tears up magazine after magazine or newspaper after newspaper until he exhausts himself.

It’s broken for all the families in the North Charlestown area of New Hampshire that have suffered through blood cancers requiring bone marrow transplants.

Since my diagnosis in April 2006, there have been three other blood cancer diagnosis within a mile radius of my house, all requiring bone marrow transplants. All snatching innocent young people out of commission at the prime of their lives.

Claremont knows of a possible cancer cluster.

Years ago the doctors in Claremont banded together and petitioned the legislature for an epidemiological study of Claremont.

The thought was increased levels of toxins in the air from waste facilities on Grissum Lane were causing increased rates of cancer.

Grissum Lane divides Claremont and Charlestown, NH. I call this area “Clarenoble.” I travel it almost every day.

The study found no increased incidence of cancer in Claremont. It did show increased occurrences of acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, chloroform, chromium, 1,2-dicloroethane, & formaldehyde- known carcinogens.

Benzene, specifically, has been linked to leukemia.

The study has since undergone an independent peer review by Dr. Jonathan Levy, Prof. at Harvard School of Public Health and specialist in Environmental Health and Risk Assessment. He determined “the DES used inappropriate logic in reaching the reports overall conclusion that ambient air in Claremont does not represent a health hazard to the general population.”

However, the initial study allowed for the passage of continued air quality permits for the companies in the town of Claremont.

The study didn’t include Charlestown. It didn’t include me, diagnosed at 23 years old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

It didn’t include Carol Snelling diagnosed in her 50s with leukemia.

It didn’t include Ashley Jordan diagnosed at 21 years old with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Her Hodgkin’s was also refractory. She also required a bone marrow transplant for a cancer that is 75% curable with the first round of chemotherapy.

It certainly didn’t include Andy diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at 6 years old who know requires a bone marrow transplant to save his life.

AML is rare in children. I believe it is the same leukemia Carol suffered from. Carol can’t tell me. She died undergoing treatment.

These diagnosis occurred since April 2006.

It doesn’t include Jon, my husband, diagnosed at 28 years old with colon cancer. It doesn’t include Barbara, who is currently undergoing treatment for feminine cancers.

These two are also within a mile radius of the factories in question. They were also diagnosed in the past four years.

I had a nightmare last night about Lynn Ferland, a registered nurse with four children who died in the 90s after three transplants to fight her leukemia.

The factories have been here for twenty years. Twenty possible years of cancers.

I could go on, but I’m too tired.

The knowledge that this is occurring, and I am too sick and too stressed to stop it, is haunting me.

I never want anybody to undergo the pain I have suffered again.

At my best, I would march all over town “Erin Brokavich-style” asking families health care histories and not simply examining death records, which was the evidence used for Claremont physicians to petition the legislature originally.

I don’t want to wait to die before people know my story.

I don’t want anybody else dying or suffering either.

I have written about this previously. Please see Hopefully, someone will hear this and want to take us on as their cause.

There are options for action, writing letters to the editor and local media- Eagle Times, Compass, Valley News, and Keene Sentinel could increase awareness.

Thomas Burack is NH’s Comissioner at the Dept. of Environmental Services. His address is 29 Hazen Dr.; Concord, NH. A full list of employees with their contact information (email and phone numbers) can be found at DES’s website under contact us.

The local legislative representative for the affected areas is Bob O’Dell. He is elected to the Energy, Environment, and Economic Development Committee. He can be contacted at: Senate Office:
107 NMain St., Room 115
Concord, N.H. 03301
(603) 271-6733
bob.odell@leg.state.nh.usHome Office:
P.O. Box 23
Lempster, N.H. 03605-0023
(603) 863-9797

See my posting and the comments for more information:


Ashley said...

good morning hillary! as per my usual morning routine, i just finished reading your blog (which i was psyched to be in...i'm famous!! woohoo!) and i want to know what i can do to help with this cancer cluster i just write a letter to those people you mentioned telling them my story?? also, my friend darcie who grew up in claremont (within the 10 mile radius) and went to ksc just finished treatment for a brain tumor she found about a year ago so add her to that list, she's 24. i want to help and i'm done with treatment for at least the next 12 weeks and i'm not working so i have lots of free time on my me or email me and let me know what i can do. hope all is well talk to you soon! 603-809-0260


Also, do you mind if i post links to your blog on my facebook page??

heather said...

this is very interesting to me...after i was diagnosed with NHL which is supposed to be rare, a former co-worker and a classmate of my daughters both were diagnosed with NHL. we live in a very small town. i often wonder how many are out there that i don't know about.

and though a cluster can't be blamed on this, as i went to many different schools throughout the years, i have lost a large number of former friends to various cancers, and there are several who have battled and won. we are not that old.

i sure wish they could figure this stuff out.

Anonymous said...

Please note, that Darcie also lives in the zone that the winds take from the Clarenoble power plant...

Laura Z.