Veteran denied disability after getting cancer from Camp Lejeune’s water

By Brett Gillin

Calvin Hooper is a veteran who served his country with the U.S. Marines. While he left the service, little did he know that he was carrying something inside his body that would one day cause him to fight for his life. The 48 year old man has been diagnosed by doctors at the VA with adenocarcinoma, also known as small-cell lung cancer. Now, Hooper is not only fighting for his life, he’s also fighting to receive disability benefits that he believes he is owed.

According to this story on WAFF, Calvin Hooper learned that he might have serious health risks while he was at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. “In 1953, they found out that the water wells, the drinking water wells was [sic] contaminated,” Hooper told reporters. “From benzene and chemicals dropped in from the motor pool from the cleaning stations. In 2010 they sent out a letter acknowledging that they knew about it. And there was 12 types of cancer listed. And I didn’t think anything about it, but I got on the registry because I was stationed there.”

Then, at a checkup at the VA, Hooper got the news that would rock his world: he has cancer. Hooper told reporters “To acknowledge that they are responsible for the cancer, my VA oncologist also wrote them a letter stating that Camp Lejeune was the cause of my cancer. In 2012, they acknowledge that… we’ll pay for your medical, but that’s all we’ll pay for… and they removed my right lung. I was in the hospital for 4 months because I had caught e-coli. We got out of that and got down to the VA in Birmingham, Alabama and they started chemo treatments.”

Unfortunately, this was far from the end of Hooper’s ordeal. The cancer worsened and spread to his adrenal gland. While he was fighting cancer, the Hoopers, unable to pay for their house, lost that too.

Kimberly Hooper, Calvin’s wife, told reporters “It cost us everything. You know shortly after Calvin had his surgery, he lost his job. Shortly thereafter, within a month, we made a decision… we can’t pay for those things. I lost my job. We lost our home.”

Even with the military’s acknowledgement that his service is directly responsible for his cancer diagnosis, they continue to refuse disability payments to the family. Hooper questions how the military can claim fault, but refuse benefits at the same time.

“They acknowledge that my cancer is from the military and they acknowledge that they will take care of my medical benefits, my chemo, my hospitalization and things like that, however there’s only been two to three people who have gotten disability from the military from the Camp Lejeune water contamination,” Hopper told reporters.

WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL


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