Marine says military is to blame for his cancer, and he’s not the only one

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Fredrick Valentine battled for his country, now he is battling cancer. The Marine veteran from East Greenbush says the military is to blame.

At 17 years old, Valentine decided to join the Marines to serve his country. He spent the last 18 months of his four-year tour at Camp LeJeune.

“I loved it!” Valentine said.

Little did he know, decades later he would develop bladder cancer. It is most likely related to dry cleaning chemicals that contaminated the water at the North Carolina base.

“The doctor at that time noticed there was blood in my urine, which is not visible,” Valentine said.

The cancer has come and gone four times but it keeps coming back. His battle is affecting every aspect of his life.

“I’m up every two hours at night having to go,” Valentine said. “The doctor recommends that I can’t lift, push or pull more than 10 pounds.”

It’s even harder now that his wife is ill. Valentine got emotional during the interview talking about his wife’s health issues.

“She had a bladder operation too. She is limited to what she is doing right now. Trying to stay away from the 10-pound limit is very difficult,” Valentine said.

“Nobody said anything and I don’t understand why it took so long for the government, or whoever, to bring this about.”

Fredrick Valentine, Marine Veteran

Someone needs to hold the Marine Corps and the federal government accountable, Valentine says.

He’s not alone. Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is adding Camp LeJeune clients every day.

“The stories are different and similar,” Harding said. “They were there. They were serving the country, often quite young. The last thing on their minds was that something was going to happen to them while they’re in camp.”

Valentine and countless others who were at Camp LeJeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 can claim compensation.

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Government officials acknowledged years ago that the water at the base was contaminated, but only now are they willing to pay.

Valentine is telling his story just days after President Biden signed the PACT Act, which significantly expands benefits and potential compensation for service men and women exposed to toxins.

The potentially life-threatening health issues reported include bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia, along with Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few.

Harding says accountability is what this whole lawsuit is about.

“The government finally saying, ‘We made a mistake.’ Intentional? Clearly not,” Harding said. “Did they step it up a little late? Could they have done something in the early 80s, or late 70s? The statistics were there. That’s the stuff we are going to prove.”

“Nobody said anything and I don’t understand why it took so long for the government, or whoever, to bring this about,” Valentine said.

Valentine says his cancer is also causing a financial burden. He can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket on top of his other expenses.