May he rest in peace. The service he performed for this country will never be forgotten. :usa:
May he rest in peace. The service he performed for this country will never be forgotten. :usa:
I've received an update from Laura:
Again, if any of you know any servicemen/veterans who may have been exposed, PLEASE tell them about the test. Laura is pretty much dedicating her life to see that no other soldier goes through what Matt endured before his death.Quote:
First, I want to thank all of you for your tremendous support, prayers and caring throughout Matt's illness and especially since his death. Your caring and support has made a tremendous difference to the family.
I also would like to remind you about our upcoming Silent Auction to be held at the Auburn Valley Country
Club with entertainment by the very talented Halie O'Ryan Band on Friday, Sept 12th. Tickets are $20 and we expect to sell out. Right now we are in the process of gathering some fabulous prizes. If you would like more information please don't hesitate to contact me.
We have very good news regarding Matt's appeal with the Veterans Administration. I have been charged by Lisa to do the V.A. appeal (due Sept 11th) and have spent the majority of my time in doing research on it. In looking up the V.A. documents and reading the ruling of the actual denial (38CFR3.309) it appears that the denial was based on non-service related leukemia when in fact they should have used 38CFR3.311 "Claims Based on Exposure to Ionizing Radiation". Therefore, they have not only denied Matt under the wrong ruling but of all the other veterans I have been working with as well. Furthermore, in the correct ruling my task is to produce evidence that Matt's "disease was at least as likely as not" resulting from exposure. Under the correct ruling leukemia may become manifest at any time after exposure.
The string of chromosomes that identified Matt's particular branch of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia is identified with therapy-related radiation. Meaning that generally patients who present with this have incurred their AML after being treated with chemotherapy or radiation/chemical exposure. I have multiple medical reports substantiating this.
We have strong evidence that Matt and his unit had a mission to secure chemical weapons at the Summara Chemical Weapons Facility. We also have evidence of their findings at this site. I have a CIA report and a report from the United Nations detailing the Summara Chemical Weapons Facility and the many toxins located there and the hazards of being exposed to those chemicals. We have reports of other incidents and ways in which Matt may have been exposed but this particular incident really stands out.
With the help of many good people - men Matt served with, doctors, lawyers, politicians and many others I believe we can prove not only Matt's case but others.
Well, time to get back to writing the appeal to the V.A. Thank you so much for your interest in this and we hope to see you on the 12th.
Thanks again, on behalf of Laura and all the family, for the prayers and support. It is profoundly appreciated.
She may have already tried this but has she tried Facebook? If not she should because it's a VERY fast way to get in touch with old friends and coworkers. When I signed up I heard from friends I hadn't talked to since my high school graduation. She could start a page in his honor and see what shakes out of the tree. Maybe someone will recognize his symptoms in themselves or someone they know. Just an idea.
The family finally got someone from the Sacramento Bee to bring this to the public's attention. It was published on page 1 of the Saturday, Sept. 6 edition:
Vet's family still seeks compensation for illness that killed him
By Sam Stanton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, September 6, 2008
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A1
They'll hold a fundraiser in Auburn next Friday to help pay Matt Bumpus' medical bills.
The Roseville man and his family worked on the event for months in hopes of raising money to treat his leukemia.
But Bumpus won't be there. The 31-year-old father of two died a month ago after a series of battles with his disease.
He believed – and his family still does – that he became ill because he was exposed to depleted uranium at a chemical weapons site while serving with the Army in Iraq.
"All of them were very concerned about what they were exposed to, very concerned," said his stepmother, Laura Bumpus.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rejected one claim Bumpus filed seeking compensation for his illness. But on Friday, a VA official told The Bee the agency will revisit the case and see whether Bumpus' widow, Lisa, and their two sons are eligible for assistance.
"Lisa and Matt's parents all have the right to come in and file a claim, and I would really welcome that," said Lynn Flint, the VA's regional director in Oakland.
The family plans to file another claim but has seen firsthand the difficulty of proving that an illness diagnosed post-service may have stemmed from wartime conditions.
Veterans from the 1990-91 Gulf War worked years to convince officials that Gulf War syndrome illnesses were real.
And just last month, researchers at UC Davis Cancer Center said veterans exposed to Agent Orange are twice as likely to get prostate cancer as are other veterans – a finding that comes decades after the herbicide was used in Vietnam.
Bumpus, a staff sergeant in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, was sent Dec. 23, 2003, to guard the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons complex in Iraq and spent two nights there, his family said.
When they arrived, Bumpus and his comrades encountered a sign that read "Welcome to Mustardville," and eventually were moved because of radiation readings emanating from the site, according to his family.
Bumpus, a 1995 Roseville High School graduate and defensive lineman for the school's football team, was a strapping young man who never had been seriously ill, family members said. He joined the Army in August 1996.
He returned from Iraq in late 2004 and left the Army the following year, coming home to Roseville to be with Lisa, his wife and high school sweetheart, and their son, Nathaniel.
Soon, Lisa was pregnant with their second son, Aaron, and Bumpus was working as a technician for Comcast.
"In July of 2006, I was home, had a job with a bright future, we were expecting our second child, we had just moved into a house, and life was good!" Bumpus wrote this year on www.iraqradiation.com, a Web site his family set up to alert veterans of potential health risks from service in Iraq.
After returning from Iraq, Bumpus worried he might have been exposed to something at the weapons site that could have long-term effects, his family said, but was assured by the Army there was no reason for concern.
Everything seemed fine until one July night in 2006, when he was having trouble sleeping.
"We thought he had the flu, and he got up to use the bathroom," his wife said. "I heard a bang and went to check, and he had hit the floor."
Bumpus was rushed to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where doctors diagnosed appendicitis. Tests done there also found he suffered from a rare form of leukemia – acute myeloid leukemia. According to his medical records, his doctor told him the illness "was related to radiation exposure."
He began a regimen of chemotherapy and other treatments and eventually racked up $1 million in medical bills, most of which were covered by his health insurance. His illness was in remission by late 2006.
"I returned to work and an almost normal life," he wrote on the Web site. "I was alive, in remission, and very thankful."
When his leukemia returned in 2008, he filed a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs saying the illness was related to his service. The VA denied the claim, noting in the rejection letter that his diagnosis had come more than a year after his separation from the Army.
The VA's Flint said the original claim did not specifically indicate that Bumpus was claiming he had been exposed to radiation. She said the agency indicated at the time it would consider new information if Bumpus provided it.
Bumpus' stepmother, Laura, said he told the family he had not mentioned the exposure in the claim because he believed that information was classified. He assumed VA officials would ask him about it, she said.
Earlier this year, Bumpus wrote to Congress seeking help, and he and his family set up the Web site detailing his case and others they had heard of. He was hoping for a bone-marrow transplant, and from his hospital bed helped plan Friday's silent auction and dinner.
Bumpus died Aug. 3. Two weeks later, his widow received notice from the VA that his case had been the subject of an inquiry from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and that Bumpus could pursue benefits.
The VA asked Bumpus to schedule a new examination at a VA hospital. His widow is drafting a reply noting that "obviously as he is now deceased he cannot comply with this request." Today, his family waits to see whether the VA will provide compensation to Lisa and their sons, 11-year-old Nathaniel and Aaron, who turns 2 in October.
Nathaniel, who started sixth grade earlier this week, is old enough to understand his father is gone.
"The youngest, I don't think he really understands. He just thinks (his dad) hasn't come home from the hospital," Lisa Bumpus said this week. She sat crying on the deck of Laura Bumpus' Foresthill home. Around her neck hung a chain that holds her husband's wedding ring.
The VA's regional director said the Bumpus family is eligible for benefits if the leukemia can be tied to Bumpus' service. His widow could receive $1,091 in tax-free benefits monthly, and her children $271 a month.
"I'm so sorry this happened," Flint said, adding that she hopes Bumpus can be recognized as having sacrificed much for his country.
About the writer: * Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.
Keep the family in your prayers. As long as they keep on fighting, perhaps someone else won't have to suffer the same fate.
First, my heartfelt thanks to Hicks for keeping this thread around. If even one person has looked into the problem after reading it, it's a tribute to Matt and his family.
Now onto the new stuff. treewoman - Laura Bumpus, Matt's stepmom - sent me the following message:
As some of you know, I went back to school in August 2009 and have been learning web design as a new career and in support of the veterans work I do. At last, I have learned enough to be able to update Gulf War Chemicals (although a lot of work is yet to be done). Additionally, I have started a new veteran’s project with Veterans Portfolio and am working towards starting my own web design business with Tree Song World. I invite you to take a look at all three:
I am incredibly proud to count this lady as a friend. She has dedicated her life to making sure the word gets out about the chemical exposure some of our troops experienced and the difficulties they've encountered since then.
If you are or know a veteran of any of the gulf war campaigns, please take a minute and check out her websites. It might just save your life.
Thanks to all and again, thanks to Hicks for allowing me to help get the word out by posting this here.