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Sometimes life leads us down roads paved with gold....


cindy0519

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After Dad and I went to the Glendale DAV and received such horrible service, I sent a quick email to Senator John McCain to inform him of the horrific encounter we had with the DAV and to express what I feel is the morally and ethically questionable position of the U.S. Government on VA treatment of smoking related cancer. I wrote that I found it both ethically and morally questionable that the very government who gave soliders (my Dad's age) cigarettes in their daily rations, thus encouraging and contributing to their smoking habits, has now turned their back of these very same vetrans in the name of the all might dollar. The government has declared that lung cancer related to smoking is too expensive to treat and has removed it from its list of service related illnesses.

To my suprize I received a phone call from McCains office about a month ago and had a lenghty conversation with a gentleman who has provided me with a bounty of information! While there is little they can actually do about the DAV incident he appologized profusely and encouraged me to file a complaint with the national president of the DAV.

One of things he suggested that I investigate further and call him back if I felt it applied to my Dad was the terms "downwinder" and "on site participant". For those, like myself, who are unfamiliar with these terms here is some more info:

In the 1950's the goverment performed some nuclear testing in the deserts of Nevada. In 1990 Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act ("RECA") providing for compassionate payments to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases as a result of their exposure to radiation released during above-ground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their exposure to radiation during employment in underground uranium mines. This Act provides fixed payments in the following amounts: $50,000 to individuals residing or working "downwind" of The Nevada Test Site; $75,000 for workers participating in above-ground nuclear weapons tests; and $100,000 for uranium miners.

The time frames in question and the locations vary according to whether you are a "downwinder" or an "onsite particpant". More information can be found here http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/torts/const/reca/about.htm

Primary lung cancer is one of the specified compensable diseases listed under this Act.

It appears that my Dad will qualify as a "downwinder" as he lived in one of the affected Az counties during the specified timeframe. We are in the progess down of collecting the required documentation to submit a claim. Since he is no longer able to work and his insurance will soon laspe due to his inablity to work, the $50,000 provided by this Act would be a HUGE help in providing him the financial ability to seek treatment.

I wanted to share this in case others might be able to benefit. I wasn't sure where the best place to post this was so feel free to move as necessary.

I also have some information on a potential treatment that I am awaiting a call from a the pioneering Dr's on (hopefully tommorow!) that I will share once I have a better idea of if it is applicable to lung cancer or not.

Odd how God leads us down paths without our knowledge or understanding of why....but in this case (fingers crossed) it seems we may have struck a goldmine of useful information!

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SO sorry to hear your Dad was not trreated with the respect he deserved by the DAV. I can tell you this is unusual. My husband is a Vietnam era Vet, disabled and receiving comp from the VA for lung cancer. If your dad served "in country: you might go to the VA and put in papers for compensation. When we did this, it was approved in a very short time. My husband can get medical from VA, and this might be an option for your dad also. I wish you the best.

Stephi

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Cindy,

First of all, thank you for this valuable information. Next, thank you SO much for your effort in writing to John McCain and following up. I hope you get what is so much deserved for your Dad. Daughters and sons such as yourself warm my heart. May good things come to you AND your Dad.

Kasey

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Stephi -- My Dad is also a "Vietnam Era" Vetran and I believe the compensation that we went to inquiry about was the ver compensation that you mention ("presumptive illness"). I was told about this by someone on another board and called and being that what I do eveyday entails legal research, I pulled the statute that applied to this clause and went in armed with the statute and a list of questions but all the DAV representative wanted to do was "judge" my father for smoking (amoung other things) and be totally rude. He did take an application after consulting with his CO, though we had none of the necessary information with us as we did come to apply but rather to inquire. I've put up with a lot in my lifetime but this was the most brutal form of humiliation I have ever encountered in my life! So we are awaiting futher word from the DAV but fully expect his claim to be denied. God knows what this DAV rep wrote in the application itself (he would not let us read -- "just sign" he said).

Kasey & Mary: Thanks for you kind words. I truly hope this can help someone else too! I agree that one person can make a difference and in this case it seems our "difference" is the gentleman in Senator McCains office -- he has been a godsend! I am in the process now of drafting a letter commending him and the job that he is doing for the people of the state of AZ (specificially what he has done for my Dad)! Wish we had more people like him representing the "people" of our country. Dad's had a rough night last night as the pain has returned to his shoulder and was at a point were it was cause his breathing to be labored and he actually considered going to the ER. He is going to see an associate of his medical oncologist this morning to try to find out what is going on, so it appears that we may be back in the "thick of the battle" after a bit of a break and that the timing of all of this maybe critical.

Prayers to everyone out there battling this disease and to those supporting and loving them. You are all very special people!

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I would like to take this opportunity to again remind all Vietnam veterans and their families about the Agent Orange Fund. This fund cover LC and other cancers and conditions. The veteran can receive treatment, get disability compensation and life insurance. There is also a survivor benefit for the spouse. Please contact me by PM if you need more information.

Karen H

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Just another "tid bit" related to this... as Karen points out with the Agent Orange Fund, the RECA as well provides survivor benefits for not only lung cancer but a fairly inclusive list of cancers related to radiation exposure. Check the link above for additional information or send me a PM and I'd be glad to help you "wade through" the information. I think I could recite it in my sleep I have read it so much now :lol:

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Thank you so very much for this post. It is so good to know that we have dedicated public servants that do care about the people of this great land. I am so glad your father will be receiving this assistance that he so deserves.

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Cindy: this is an intersting and infotmative thread. Congratualtions to you on being a good advocate for your dad. I have always thought highly of Senator McCaine and am not surprised that his staff would be so responsive.

Don M

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