At the age of 13, Ruben Gallegos went to work with his father who ran the local uranium mine. He was by far the youngest working at the mine, but he loved his time there. He remembers going down into the mines to clean up with nothing more than a hardhat on. It was “cold and dark” he recalled. Eventually, Ruben moved to Uravan to work on the Uravan Mining Project where he worked alongside his brother, father, and brother-in-law. “It was hard work, but I loved it. I never wanted to quit,” said Mr. Gallegos. The lack of protective clothing and years of hard work in the mine lead to exposure to asbestos, radiation, and all kinds of mineral dust eventually leading to a diagnosis of pneumoconiosis (lung disease). For the last three years, Nuclear Care Partner nurse, Cheri, has been visiting Ruben a couple of times a week, monitoring his breathing and vitals. “My dad is happier and more energetic now,” Carol, Ruben’s daughter, said. “Plus, Cheri is great, I’m so glad she’s my dad’s nurse. If anything happens to my dad, I can call her and I know she will help.”
Jack worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab from 1958 – 1991 and serving as the Supervisor of Optical Fabrication and developing optical parts for physicists and researchers. “You don’t always realize the potential of what you’re building until after the fact,” said Jack.
Due to the radiation Jack was exposed to over the course of his 33 years working at the lab, he developed several cancers including colon cancer, bladder cancer, and skin cancer. “I’m lucky they were detected early and I’ve survived them all,” Jack said.
Several years ago, Jack successfully filed a claim for his EEOICPA benefits and received his DOL white card and no-cost medical benefits for his cancers. Then Jack heard about the in-home care services Nuclear Care Partners offers. “Initially I thought, ‘I’m still doing good getting around on my own. I don’t need in home care.’ But after thinking about it more, I realized it would be a good thing to have Nuclear Care Partners there for when I need them.”