From the death of a former New York Mets player due to cancer, to a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings regarding cancer potentially caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.
Former New York Mets player Jeff Innis died from cancer.
Jeff Innis, a sidearm pitcher who made relief appearances for the New York Mets in the 1980s and 1990s, died at age 59 after having undergone cancer treatments.
The news was shared in an announcement from the Mets’ Vice President of Media Relations, Jay Horwitz, which read, “We lost one of the good guys today. Jeff Innis passed away after a long battle with cancer that (sped) up so quickly since the fall.”
Horwitz added that he loved his fans, and never shied away from giving out autographs.
“Jeff pitched for us from 1987–1993 and it seemed liked he came out of the bullpen every day. His side-arm delivery made him unique.”
In a GoFundMe set up to raise money for his treatment, Innis’s family wrote, “We are so incredibly thankful for the support from friends, family, and fans who extended donations and kind words. Our family is overwhelmed with love.”
He was survived by his wife, Kelly, and his children Keenan and Shannon.
A 6-year-old cancer survivor met Princess Tiana in Disney World in trip gifted by singer Ciara.
Aubrey English, 6, was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare type of liver cancer, when she was just 3 years old.
English went viral on the internet after her mother recorded a video of her dancing to “Level Up,” a song by singer Ciara, while in her hospital room. In the post, her mother, Mickeon English, wrote, “Dear childhood cancer, just so you know, I won’t give up. I won’t give in. You won’t take my spirit. You won’t take my spunk.”
Aubrey has now been in remission for three years, and her family shared that they hope her energy can inspire others.
“She’s always been very positive even in her worst days,” her mother said to GMA. “She was still happy and smiling and dancing. It just brought so much light to us even during our darkest days.”
While she was in treatment, English decorated her hospital room into a “princess castle,” and would dress up as a princess to make the best of her situation.
After Ciara saw the video, she surprised English and her family on GMA, telling them, “Oh my goodness, I’m in tears right now. Aubrey, I just want to say that you are a superhero.”
Adding to the surprises, Disney Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog” shared a video for English, saying to keep on doing her best. The family was then told they were being gifted a trip to Disney World to meet Tiana in person.
Upon meeting in Disney World, Princess Tiana told English that she is already a princess, because “every princess is kind, hardworking, and believes in herself.”
Six people have filed a lawsuit demanding compensation for thyroid cancer they developed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In the time since the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, over 290 people have been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer — 266 of which were part of a panel survey of 380,000 residents 18 years old or younger at the time of the accident.
The Fukushima disaster was caused by a nearly 50-foot tsunami following a major earthquake. The tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, which led to a nuclear accident on March 11, 2011.
The three reactors melted in three days, and the accident was rated level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale — which helps communicate information on safety during a nuclear accident. Seven is the highest possible score, indicating a major accident.
The plaintiffs in the case said that their illnesses were caused by the massive radiation exposure — which continued to affect the area for a lengthy period of time.
“I couldn't tell anyone about my cancer because I was afraid of being discriminated against,” said one of the plaintiffs, according to FOX 5. “But I decided to come forward and tell the truth in hopes of improving the situation for nearly 300 other people also suffering like us.”
All of the plaintiffs involved in the case were between ages six and 16 at the time and were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018. Four plaintiffs had their thyroids fully removed and must undergo hormonal treatment for the rest of their life — one of whom says their cancer has spread since then. Two other plaintiffs had partial thyroid removal.
One of the plaintiff’s lawyers said that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings — which operates the nuclear plant — should be held accountable for the radiation exposure, lest they can prove that they were not responsible.
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