October 6, 2022

The Club You Never Wanted To Be

When you think of clubs, your mind takes you to sports, books, school, you name it. But the club I’m in is different. This club has challenged me and other mothers in similar situations. I never thought in my life that I would be a part of such a club. We call it “mothers cancer club”. I’ve never signed up for this. Just like I never signed up to be an activist. Most of us in this club never do.

And yet I am here. It took five years to get North Carolina to accept the cancer cluster that exists in my neighborhood, where coal plants have poured toxic ash for decades; coal ash left over after years of burning coal for energy; Coal ash is linked to cancer, research has undeniably shown. It’s been five years since my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. And I’ve watched five years of the health department, the environmental quality department, the politicians, and even some dubious academics doing everything they can to destroy the remaining coal ash industry in my town, leaving my family and others in a toxic state. chaotic.

But I am one of many in this club.

A mother I know has been working for six years to get support from her town in West Hills, California. Santa Susana Lab, a former nuclear test site. Her daughter and neighbors were diagnosed with leukemia and other cancers in the surrounding area. This is how he joined the club. Nothing has been done to date and no health data has been collected for the community harmed by this site.

And another mother in Idaho started fighting 19 years ago to find out why her son and many around her were diagnosed with brain cancer. It fought like hell and went all the way to Congress to get the Trevor Act on the books so communities would receive federal assistance and guidelines enforced by the Center for Disease Control when tracking and researching cancer clusters. Unfortunately, this law did not do much because the government is not putting the resources needed on the table.

After all these years and meeting countless moms like me, I noticed a model. Our children get cancer, along with our neighbors and classmates, and it quickly takes over and disturbs our lives as people begin to die. Then we tirelessly spend hours and years trying to find answers to the environmental disasters that the industry has allowed to go unpunished, and then we fight for common sense cleanup. We’re battling uncooperative health departments and officials who refuse to even use the words “cancer cluster” and instead use terms like “significantly higher rates.” State regulators tell us nothing is wrong and everything is being watched. Politicians say they will help us, without doing anything or following.

This has to end now, and the only way this can happen is if we put pressure on everyone who’s flawed. Indeed, we must put pressure on institutions and authorities bending over backwards to protect refineries, power plants, chemical companies, and countless other industries that pollute our homes and workplaces.

That’s why, with the help of Earthjustice and other groups, I’m organizing a protest set to take place in Washington DC on September 20. The goal is to bring mothers, advocates and scientists to the steps of Congress and the Environmental Commission. Protection Agency. The claim of our SAFE Protest is simple: Families need protection from cancer clusters now.

So if you’re in Washington on September 20, please join us or tell everyone you know that they might be interested in attending this event. We can get things done if we work together. No one should live in cancer clusters. No more moms should join my club.

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