My name is Jerry and I was born and raised in the Graniteville, South Carolina area. I worked at the Savannah River Site for nearly 8 years as a Tool and Die Maker, mostly in the machine shop.
We knew that it was hot when we were doing the plutonium casts but we found out later that they were smoking hot. In the late 80’s I did a lot of machining on the plutonium casts for the Mars space mission and that’s where I got my radiation from.
After I left the Savannah River Site I started having flu-like symptoms constantly and I could never get rid of it. I went to the doctor and they gave me antibiotics but it wasn’t going away. So I was referred to another doctor in Augusta who diagnosed me with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Then in 2019 they found out I had lung cancer and I’ve been taking radiation pills every day.
I thought about my family and I figured, “now how long have I got to live with this?”
I spoke with a lady from Nuclear Care Partners and they set up an appointment to come by the house. When they came they told me about the EEOICPA program and the benefits I could get. I had no idea about the program at all but they told me all about it and helped me get the process started so I could file for benefits.
To be honest, I was kind of hesitant because I was a laid-back country boy and I’d always done everything my way. But they helped me get the ball rolling and suggested a couple of advocates to help me get my white card and they supported me through the process 100%.
Now, I’ve got the best nurses you could ever have who come to my house three times a week. I love them to death. They come in and it’s at my own pace and I get to build my own care. You truly couldn’t ask for better.
I recommend anybody that’s going through what I’m going through to pick up the phone and call Nuclear Care Partners. They’re just a phone call away.
To read this full article in our Fall 2021 edition of Atomic Health News, click here.