“Something’s just not right – this is beyond coincidence.”
Ocular Melanoma is a rare cancer which only affects 5 out of every one million people. Typically, it affects older white males. But mysterious pockets of the disease have sprung up in Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina, primarily affecting young women.
In North Carolina, the pocket is in Huntersville. There have been 30 cases of Ocular Melanoma in the area in just the last five years. Three of these individuals were females who went to the same high school- Hopewell.
So far, researchers have been dumbfounded as to the cause for these geographic groupings of the disease. The longer patients and families go without answers, the more these individuals are strengthening their advocacy efforts.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest barriers to the research is money.
North Carolina issued a bill in 2017 that provided a 100,000 dollar research grant to help find the cause. Unfortunately, that money is almost completely used up now, and the research conducted with it yielded no notable results.
But a new bill, just recently proposed by Senator Natasha Marcus, aims to provide another 100,000 dollars to researchers. While the first grant focused on genetic testing, the second will go to investigating environmental factors through analysis of soil, air, and water samples.
This new bill has passed its first reading. Currently, it is in committee.
The Huntersville community isn’t just waiting around to hear if it passes though. They’ve been actively speaking out, attending town hall meetings, and pleading their case.
Not only could the money from this bill provide answers to patients currently living with an Ocular Melanoma diagnosis, it could potentially prevent new cases of the disease in this area.
Sue Colbert, whose daughter passed away from the cancer says-
“Please vote yes, please vote yes, it’s an answer to a prayer.”