In less than a decade, breast cancer has struck a dozen educators at the same school in eastern Iowa. As KCRG notes, this has prompted concerns over whether carcinogens exist in the structure or its surroundings.
Nearly 130 individuals call the Hudson School District in Black Hawk County home.
Carol Menefee, a teacher at Hudson Elementary School, remarked, “People just were kind of discussing and realized like wow, since 2009, there has been quite a number.”
Menefee is a 30-year veteran of the Hudson faculty. She has fought cancer twice in that period. In 2009, breast cancer was the first. After that, follicular lymphoma that was not caused by Hodgkin’s disease was diagnosed in 2016.
Diane Anderson, a former teacher at Hudson, reflected, “We were all kind of in that elementary building, especially for many years.”
Anderson, a longtime employee of the district who had worked there for more than three decades, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
“For most of us, it’s not inherited, so it must stem from somewhere else,” she explained.
Both she and Menefee have been declared cancer-free; however, some other staff members are still undergoing treatment, and one has passed away.
Anderson emphasized that “this is not about us,” meaning that the focus should be on helping others and taking the initiative.
This is why the school board decided to participate in a cancer cluster study conducted by the University of Iowa.
We welcome them with open arms and ask, “What can we do for you?” So, what do I do? How should I proceed? “They accepted me at my word and said, ‘This is what you can do. Therefore we’re going to do it,'” Dr. Tony Voss, superintendent of Hudson Schools, stated.
They want to discover if there is a common denominator in the facilities that have led to the cancer cases, even though they realize it will be impossible to prove.
They say it’s like a family here at the school, and I believe them. With each other, they were able to get through the shock of hearing separate cancer diagnoses, and now they want to do the same for each other while they search for solutions.
Your support means a great deal to me. Anderson praised Dr. Voss for his “very, very helpful” communication with the group after their initial meeting a week ago.
“It sounds like a fairly simple thing to do, but we do want to, we want to know,” Voss said.
Despite the possibility that they won’t, they’re going to investigate to see if there’s any connection.
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