By the end of Yousuf’s treatment, in about one more year, I would love to have all the answers. I would love to know exactly how and why he got sick and how to prevent it for others. Unfortunately, it will probably always remain a mystery. Survival is of primary importance, next for him to stay healthy, but with all we've gone through, I want more. I have become aware that just half a mile from my home there is an empty lot of land that used to be an entire neighborhood called South Bend and an elementary school named Weber Elementary School. They were completely terminated after realizing they were built partially on and right next to a witches brew of toxic waste dumps. Babies born with birth defects, cases of leukemia, miscarriages and other illnesses were discovered. A father and previous resident of that community, who also worked for one of the chemical plants responsible said,
"As it turns out, the field actually belonged to a defunct chemical disposal company called Brio Refining Inc. Over the course of nearly 30 years until 1982, a number of companies had dumped highly toxic byproducts from Houston’s petrochemical industries into the ground with no reliable means of containment. The site was so toxic that the EPA put the Brio Site on the Superfund list, a federal program that came out of the Love Canal scandal of the late 1970’s, marking Brio for toxic waste cleanup".
The story has become overwhelmingly sad for me to research. Do I think that this is the cause of Yousuf’s cancer? No. Do I think that it played a part in him getting cancer? Yes, I do. I don’t believe that any one “thing” can be responsible for something like this. People can argue then, why aren’t their kids getting sick, too? I don't think it's that simple. I live in a predominately Asian community, which is not high on the list for getting childhood leukemia….at least not yet :(. Childhood cancers are higher in white and Hispanic populations, Yousuf is both. Could it be that added factor? I will never know but I will definitely work on eliminating reasons that I CAN for him to be cured such as the healthy diet and living in a safer environment. The other aspects I will just stay actively aware of the statistics.
The Brio Superfund taught me something else…It’s important to be active in one’s community. My goal is to ensure people know of Yousuf’s cancer and that cases of it are still existing in nearby communities. I will not let this whole experience of holding my son down with all of his kicking and screaming on a biweekly basis just pass…justice for all, as much as I can do.
If anyone knows of anyone living in this neighborhood or went to Weber Elementary School please contact me at email@example.com or please post a comment. I would love to have more knowledge of the Brio Superfund.