Parents Want Answers After 11 Kids Were Diagnosed with Similar Rare Brain Tumors in Mt Pleasant
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (ALEX HEATON, WTAT-TV) — Eleven cases of rare brain tumors all share something in common — the patients with those tumors were all from Mount Pleasant.
Park West is known for pretty lawns and peacefulness. But driving past the gate only brings back bitter memories for Brandi Richardson.
“He was terminal upon diagnosis. They give you radiation and tell you to go home and enjoy your kid until he’s gone,” Richardson said of the day her 8-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, an incredibly rare pediatric brain tumor.
But it wasn’t just the single diagnosis that stunned her.
“On the exact same day, another little boy named Sam was diagnosed with DIPG,” Richardson said. “It was kind of strange to me. Two kids. Same town. Same hospital. Same day.”
Ethan died within a few months of his July 2013 diagnosis. Meanwhile, in a subdivision just a few miles away, another mother’s nightmare was just about to begin.
“Nick’s tumor was in the exact same spot as Ethan’s,” said Marie Price. She met Brandi at one of Ethan’s fundraising events before, so she knew where to turn when her son was also diagnosed with the same rare pediatric brain tumor.
“We actually talked about that a little bit,” Price said. “How weird it was we were literally subdivisions away from each other.”
Nick was lucky.
A team of surgeons was able to remove the tumor from his brain stem and Marie became a mother to the community almost overnight.
“I was messaged like crazy of ‘why does this keep happening in our area,’ and as of last night I knew of five and now I know of eleven,” she said.
Eleven cases of rare tumors. Most in three neighboring Mount Pleasant subdivisions. “Stoplights separate them, basically.” Park West, Dunes West and Rivertowne.
The latest? Jett Goldberg. “When I talked to Jett’s mom, I realized Jett lived in Dunes West which is right in the hub of those neighborhoods and his tumor was on the brain stem as well,” said Price.
Is it the water? The air? Or is it simply more awareness?
“I don’t know. and that’s why I’m sitting here talking to you,” said Price. “I don’t know, and I’m hoping someone out there can find out.”
To give others a peace of mind the fought hard to have themselves. “It was hard what we went through,” Price said. “It was harder what Brandi went through, and we don’t want anybody else to go through it. That’s really what it boils down to. How can we give back to this town that gave so much to us when Nick was fighting his.”
We reached out to DHEC to see if they are investigating the 29464 and 29466 zip codes as cancer clusters. We are waiting on information back from them.
We also spoke with Mayor Linda Page who tells us she has asked for help from Senator Lindsay Graham. Right now they are waiting on more data from health officials before they can move forward.