Parents of kids with cancer frustrated with Ohio Department of Health - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Parents of kids with cancer frustrated with Ohio Department of Health

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By Jonathan Walsh - bio | email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

OAK HARBOR, OH (WTOL) - Families in the area of the Clyde Cancer Cluster are frustrated with the government over what they feel is a lack of communication.

Initially 18 kids were involved in the study.

Then in May the Ohio Department of Health expanded the study to 38 children.

After further study, the ODH revised that number and now reports there are 28 children total in the cancer cluster itself.

After six months, the ODH has yet to contact any of the 10 additional families. For them, their lives have turned upside down with questions.

Last March Don Christie found out his adopted daughter, 5-year-old Michaela, has leukemia. The Christies live in Oak Harbor, near another young girl who has cancer, and near Steve Keller, whose grandson Kole passed away from cancer.

Michaela says it's been a scary time, receiving treatments, losing her hair, getting a wig and enduring shots.

Ever since the Ohio Department of Health expanded its study back in May, the Christies have wondered if their daughter is part of the cluster.

"We've never been contacted by anyone from the state or any agency associated with the state or government agency," Christie said.

News 11 asked the Ohio Department of Health why it still hasn't contacted the additional families. A spokesperson says ODH wanted to continue its research and analysis.

We next contacted Gov. Strickland's office and asked if it knew families hadn't been spoken to.

Spokesperson Amanda Wurst told us, "The governor expects (the state's) health experts to continue working closely with the families involved."

Closely? Some families haven't even gotten a letter.

"You really begin to question the government because they haven't done anything to contact us or approach us. We've watched the reports on the news," Christie said.

Wurst also told us federal agencies have said what Ohio investigators are doing with the study are exceeding even federal standards for similar cases. That statement upset the Christies.

"It's anger, frustration because you're trying to figure out," Christie said. "There's something going on."

The ODH says the additional families should be getting a letter by Friday.

The Christies say the delays have wasted time. "Let's find out what's causing these things so we can stop it in the future for other families and that they don't have to go through these kinds of things."

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