PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- The Poisoned Patriots Fund of America is hitting the road this weekend to raise awareness and money to assist those considered victims of contaminated water present at Camp Lejeune during a span of three decades.
The "Ride for the Cause" is set for Sunday, September 9, starting at 1 p.m. in Ponte Vedra and ending with a convoy of Jeeps on the beach at Vilano Beach two hours later.
"Just like Agent Orange, it is a big thing because there are so many sick ones out there, families as well," said Bob Kahaly who is a local Marine and is fighting toxic neuropathy and non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Kahaly says the local group got started a year ago to get the word out about contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, where Marines and their dependents were exposed to chemicals like benzene and vinyl chloride in drinking water.
Recently, President Obama signed legislation to assist those who were exposed to more than a dozen illnesses and diseases, including several cancers and female infertility.
Jacksonville's Veterans Services Office has been hearing from both Marines and dependents who lived on or near the base. The time span to be eligible for medical care is between 1957 and 1987.
Kahaly says the mission now is one of outreach and offering financial assistance when possible to victims who are just learning of their eligibility.
"There is a family in Tampa ... and the family had kidney cancer and the father recently died," said Kahaly on the need offer victims a place to turn for help and guidance on all the paperwork that is involved.
First Coast News