I wish I could say that this story wraps up neatly. But, unfortunately, cancer cluster investigations rarely do..
After a Florida Cancer Cluster…
A pixielike girl with big blue eyes and long brown hair, Hannah Samarripa began experiencing headaches and fatigue in the middle of eighth grade. By the time the spring dance rolled around, Hannah didn’t have the strength to paint her own toenails. Her mother, Becky Samarripa, did it for her, and then drove Hannah to school and waited outside, knowing she’d be able to put in only a brief appearance. The teenager’s mysterious decline continued on to limping, vomiting, incontinence and—perhaps her most disturbing symptom—occasional fits of barking laughter that sounded so strange and demonic, her father wondered whether she was on drugs. Then, in the summer before ninth grade, while her family was visiting a Civil War memorial on the coast of Alabama, Hannah collapsed.
Still, it was a full six months later, when a doctor spotted her brain tumor during an eye exam—literally seeing the growth through the lens of Hannah’s eye—that the 14-year-old got the diagnosis and then the surgery that saved her life.
When Hannah got sick in 2007, her mother had no idea that, just a few blocks away in the Acreage—their lush South Florida community—other children had also suffered through the same awful symptoms. Had she known about Jessica Newfield, who was close to her daughter’s age and had been ill for many months before being diagnosed; Joey Baratta, who developed two tumors before dying at age 20; or little Jenna McCann, who got sick at age 3, perhaps she’d have gotten Hannah’s tumor diagnosed sooner.
read more at The Nation