by Carol Harvey
Heartbreaking news from ill Treasure Islanders comes to me in an unrelenting, unending flood. People with health problems that they attribute to island toxins have contacted me for the past seven years on the average of once a week.
On Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, a former island mother, Mrs. Johnson, told me over the phone that on the day before we spoke, she, her husband and their son checked into the hospital for breathing problems. The entire family developed asthma after moving to Treasure Island, and it continued after they moved away.
Following some tests, the mom was hit with unexpected news. Doctors informed her that her 10-year-old son had developed a brain tumor. As she spoke to me on the phone, she was sitting near his bed, savoring what might be the last days of his young life. Her son, who is small in stature, is described by a Treasure Island neighbor as an exceptionally sweet and gentle young child.
The Johnsons believe their son’s glioma was caused by island toxins. After the Johnsons’ dog, Casey, dug in the bare soil in their backyard, the dog developed huge tumors and died.
The Johnson family moved to Treasure Island in August 2013. Six and a half years later, they hurriedly left on March 1, 2020, after they all got sick. The exact location of their apartment, Townhouse 1221, Unit B, Mariner Ave., reveals the radiation and chemicals to which they were exposed that were all around their house in the soil and groundwater.
After the Johnsons’ dog, Casey, dug in the bare soil in their backyard, the dog developed huge tumors and died.
Mrs. Johnson shares the experience of hair loss with other islanders. Three years ago, her hair began to fall out in clumps. She believes it was caused by exposure to toxins.
Like many of her former island neighbors, Mrs. Johnson was diagnosed with respiratory disease. She was healthy before moving to the island. There, she developed a persistent cough that never went away. When I first spoke with her in 2020, she told me she had been coughing for a month. During the phone conversation, I could hear her struggling for breath. Her cough continues a year later in 2021.
Mr. Johnson suffers from headaches. In March 2020, while still living on the island, he fell ill. He toughed it out and didn’t go to the hospital. Around five weeks later, severe breathing problems recurred. He worried it might be COVID-19.
Heavy medical bills will devastate the Johnson family’s finances. Mrs. Johnson set up the below GoFundMe page requesting help with the family’s medical expenses. As always, whatever people can afford to help this small boy and his worried family will be gratefully accepted. Thanks for considering any size donation. I appreciate it very much.
Carol Harvey is a San Francisco political journalist specializing in human rights and civil rights. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.