A Marine wife created a video in efforts to warn and educate other military families who have been stationed in South Carolina’s Laurel Bay Housing with the potential for cancer and other health problems.
The Whatley family lived in Beaufort, South Carolina from July 2007 to November 2010. Her spouse was a Drill Instructor at Parris Island and the family lived Beaufort’s Laurel Bay Housing.
In the video, Amanda Watley talks about her daughter’s cancer. She says that Katie is one of 8 children that she knows has been diagnosed, all who lived in Laurel Bay Housing.
Amanda’s friend Melanie was the first to discover the horrific news in the fall of 2012. Amanda’s daughter was later diagnosed with Leukemia in January, 2015.
It was during an appointment that Amanda told one of Katie’s ICU doctors that her friend’s child had cancer too. She mentioned that they had both been pregnant at the same time while living in military housing together. The doctor told Amanda this was significant and asked her to follow up with others who lived in housing and report it to authorities.
Amanda believes the problem stems from Laurel Bay’s buried oil tanks — they were used to heat the old houses. In fact, she says the government is aware of the leaking oil tanks and has told residents that there’s benzene in the soil.
The Whatley family reported the incident to the government and she says there is an ongoing investigation where they’re actively taking soil samples.
In that meeting with military authorities, the Whatley family requested that they notify families who lived in the housing, but it appears that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Amanda felt compelled to make the video in order to inform others because the signs and diagnosis of cancer wasn’t obvious for their family; she’s hoping that the information shared will allow people who’ve lived there make the connection quicker if their children are having health issues.
The Whatley family is asking you to contact them if you lived in Laurel Bay and if you or your child has been diagnosed with cancer, saying:
This video is meant to serve as a public service announcement to all families that have been stationed at MCRD Parris Island or MCAS Beaufort and lived in the Laurel Bay military housing community. In the last several years, 8 children (that we know of so far) that lived at Laurel Bay have been diagnosed with cancer. Please share this video with the Marine Corps and Navy families you know that have lived there.
If your child has been diagnosed with cancer and you were stationed in Beaufort, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, please check out Military Family united by Pediatric Cancer for more help and support.
1/9/16 Update: It appears the majority of oil tanks were removed; a user uploaded a document that appears to be from 2012 describing the process the workers should follow; the source of the presentation is unknown.
From that source it appears that not all tanks were drained and many were filled with oil and the soil toxic. There are also public health notices of a leaking chemical plant in Beaufort.
The following document shows a contract for removal of the oil tanks including soil-testing for various carcinogens.
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