Known vs. the unknown

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

To the Editor:

With 29 years experience as an RN, working many of those years at our local hospital then another six years as a Hospice nurse for Northampton and its surrounding counties, I am acutely aware that there are things in our environment and our lives that cause horrific and dreaded disease and death. While some of these diseases are caused by genetic predisposition or life-style choices, for many of them, we are totally unaware of their cause.

Sixteen years ago, my stepfather was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (cancerous brain tumor). He died three months later.

Twelve years ago, my mom was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig`s disease), a neuromuscular disease that leaves the body unable to function. She died last December.

Seven years ago, my youngest son was diagnosed with NonHodgkin`s Lymphoma (a blood cancer). He had to undergo a Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant to help him beat this life-threatening disease.

Just today, we received the pathology report from two very suspicious and frightening looking moles that my youngest son had removed from his foot. These moles, thankfully, came back as ‘typical` moles… not the melanoma that we so greatly feared they would be.

I tell you these things to make you aware that I am no stranger to heartache, destruction, fear and loss from neuromuscular diseases or cancers.

Had I the power to control the elements that caused my stepfather`s brain tumor, or my mother`s ALS or my son`s cancer, I would have. Being powerless to control those elements then, I am NOT powerless to control an equally horrific threat to our health today.

There are many harmful things in our lives that we have NO control over. VistaGreen`s proposed coal ash storage facility is not one of those. We have the power to control whether VistaGreen and the myriad of devastating illnesses that their coal ash would visit upon our citizens will have opportunity to be placed in our county or not.

We have “UNKNOWN” health threats in our lives. VistaGreen is a ”KNOWN” health threat to our county and its citizens.

We KNOW that even lined coal ash pits eventually leak and its heavy metals then seep into the groundwater and taint area wells with cancer-causing substances. We KNOW coal ash becomes airborne and is breathed in by anyone in its path, causing COPD and lung cancers. We KNOW that anyone working with coal ash is at high risk of illness and/or death from exposure to coal ash`s poisons. We also KNOW that the companies that place coal ash in communities with promises of “safety” have been proven untrustworthy.

Please join our fight. On Friday, August 4, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Cedar Grove Friend`s Meeting House at 303 W. Main Street in Woodland, the Northampton County Citizens Against Coal Ash (NCCACA) will hold their monthly community coal ash meeting to discuss and inform our citizens about the known hazards of coal ash.

Wanda Flythe