Sara K. Colorado

Long Lines and Lost Lives

A personal account of how the long wait times at the VA and exposure to Agent Orange resulted in the loss of my grandfather's life.

Dear Future President,

My grandfather has always been my hero and it is because of his struggles that I have been made aware of the many injustices happening to America’s veterans, especially Vietnam Veterans. The men and women who have proudly fought, survived, and died for our country are being left by the wayside. We cannot stand for this anymore, Veterans and their loved ones who were exposed to Agent Orange have the right to fair and just compensation.

In 2012 my grandfather died at the age of 70 as a direct result of his service and exposure to Agent Orange. In 2000 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery to remove all signs of cancer, however he was not treated with chemotherapy. As a result, the cancer came back in the form of pancreatic cancer, the cancer which he eventually died from. When my grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it took the VA a month to get him in for a life critical catscan. The VA’s abuse, mistreatment, and disorganization is the reason that my grandfather died in the care of a civilian doctor. The civilian medical industry was the only place that my grandfather was able to find adequate treatment in.

When my grandfather died, my grandmother lost all of her compensation because pancreatic cancer is not on the Agent Orange benefits list. My grandmother lost her house as a result of lost benefits and would have become homeless if she hadn’t moved in with my family. My grandmother not only lost her husband of 50 years, but her house and way of living. Although my grandfather's pancreatic cancer was caused by his former prostate cancer, the VA refuses to acknowledge it. Untold numbers of veterans and their spouses have had to face the same struggle.

Far too often veterans are cast off by the system that is supposed to serve and protect those who have served and protected our country. So I, a 17 year old girl, who has witnessed first hand the neglect of the VA, challenges you, our President, to take action against the disorganization of the VA. Will you stand by and watch thousands of veterans suffer and die? Will you choose to once again overlook this injustice?

With hope,

Sara K. 

PSD Global Academy

SLCC - English PGA

Senior Literature, Composition, & Communication at PGA

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