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Old 03-18-2010, 06:15 AM
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revwardoc revwardoc is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Gardner, MA
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Default Marine's Cancer Linked To Base's Toxic Water

A local marine has a fighting wish; to save other members of the military, not from war, but from water.

Paul Buckley of Hanover has multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable blood cancer. He's already lived a year longer than most with this disease, perhaps because he's a former marine. But it's because he's a former marine that he got the cancer in the first place.

"Whoever thought you just drank the water and it happened to you," wonders Buckley.

Back in 1985, Buckley was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He spent his final months of service there before coming home.

Five years ago, he married his wife, Sue, but just six months later he was in the hospital, diagnosed with stage four cancer.

The doctors told him it was from exposure to toxic chemicals.

"I never did any of that stuff, I had no risk factors for that," said Buckley.

It wasn't until Buckley's sister sent him an article about cancer rates among marines from Camp Lejeune that the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. Buckley remembered his barracks were right next to a fuel farm that was later found to have leaking tanks.

Buckley launched a four year battle with the government to declare his cancer "service related." This past week, he received a letter from the government stating just that. Buckley's wife Sue was shocked.

"In the back of my head I thought it's never going to happen," she said. "They're never going to say it, there's too much at stake, there were so many people there."

Buckley isn't alone.

Peter Devereaux of North Andover is one of dozens of former marines with breast cancer attributed to the water at Camp Lejeune.

Buckley, who is now in remission, hopes his case will help get benefits for all marines who served their country only to end up with cancer.

"There's no more saying it didn't happen," he said. "It did happen; you (the government) said it happened. You're admitting it."

The designation that Buckley's cancer is service related means he now qualifies for full disability benefits, like a monthly stipend and health insurance. And, despite his preexisting condition, he will also get life insurance to help his wife.

Buckley encourages other veterans who served at Camp Lejeune and are facing cancer to log onto two websites that helped him: and
I'd rather be historically accurate than politically correct.
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