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Country Singer, Debbie West on
"The Stand"

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Toxic Homefront Empowered Survivors Take All Necessary Defense

I am a veteran of the Marine Corps. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC from 1984 - 1987. Those who know me know this already. What they may not know is that in 1990 I was diagnosed with Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome and Lupus. These illnesses are the direct reasons for why I have suffered 4 strokes to date. One of which affected my speech and left side and left me with residual (life lasting) effects. I was able to fight back and continue with my music. It is not easy, by any means. But my passion for what I do gives me the energy I need.

About a year or so ago, I was made aware that the wells on Camp Lejeune were contaminated with chemicals from a dry cleaning company off base. This was happening for many years before it was discovered. These wells were finally capped in 1985. The chemicals are toxic, as reported from the Agency for Toxic Substances. The government was desperately searching for women who were pregnant or gave birth at Camp Lejeune during the time the wells were in operation for a study on the effects of these chemicals on the unborn. They believed that is was possible that exposure could cause health issues such as cancers and leukemia in these children. That study has been closed and the results will be out in the fall, however, many other health issue concerns have been raised by veterans and those who lived on this base.

Many people who have been exposed at Camp Lejeune are finding themselves dealing with unexplained illnesses, common diagnosis, rare disease. I am included in this group. Many families of some deceased are questioning if the water played a direct part in their loved ones death. I was the picture of health before my enlistment. I believe in my heart of hearts that my illness is directly related to the exposure of these chemicals. I have the toxicology reports to show that when you inject mice with some of these chemicals they develop "Lupus like symptoms". Imagine that, that's what I have. As well as, other immune system issues that are seen in these reports. The government is looking at this, but not at all levels. They have focused so far on the children. That is good, but so many others have also been effected. It is believed that some of this stuff can be passed on to children through DNA. I have a 14 year old daughter! The thought that I could have passed this on to her scares me.

Nobody can undo what has been done, but they can help us who have been effected. This is where I need the help!

There are two sisters who lived on Camp Lejeune for 15 years who have started an non-profit group called The Stand (stands for: Toxic Homefront Empowered Survivors Take All Necessary Defense). Their mission is to help people like myself seek justice and help. They are a voice for us and a place where we can come together in numbers to seek the information we need to make sure we are taken care and those who don't even know about this are made aware. I was shocked when I first visited this site and saw how many other people have similar illnesses. There is power in numbers. The more of us that come forward the larger our voice. We are not blaming anyone, that will get us nowhere.

If you are a Veteran, family of a Veteran, friend of a Veteran, or were at Camp Lejeune for any reason please visit this web site. It may make a difference in your life or the life of someone you know. Awareness is the key here. The site address is http://www.watersurvivors.com  the site contains a great amount of info and support. We need help in spreading the word about this. Many veterans still don't know they were exposed in spite of all the publicity on national TV and newspapers. This group is working on that issue as well.

cd.jpg (14748 bytes)A final thought: I dedicated my entire album to Veterans so that they would never be forgotten for the sacrifices they made and make every day. That statement by me is for every sacrifice, not just war related sacrifices. "I am but one voice, but with help I will become a choir."

If anyone has any questions please email me at debwest@adelphia.net. I will be happy to help you.



Sincerely,
Debbie West

Hear clips of Debbie's CD on MKOC and purchase the CD on Mp3.com
Debbie West on MKOC
http://MP3.com/debbiewest

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