Parents reporting cancer in children who lived at Laurel Bay

Parents reporting cancer in children who lived at Laurel Bay

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Laurel Bay, a neighborhood for military families, is under the microscope after the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center launched a public health review.

The investigation started two years ago after a post circulated on Facebook. Months later, more parents reported their child being diagnosed with cancer after living at Laurel Bay.

"Our daughter, Katie, has cancer, and actually, eight other children have been diagnosed with cancer over the past few years," Amanda Whatley, who lived in Laurel Bay, said during a video posted to YouTube.

Whatley's video has been viewed more than 40,000 times.

"About 36 hours after we checked into the emergency room, Katie was on the way to the operating room. The cancer had completely taken over her body. Her bone marrow was 97 percent cancer," Whatley said.

Whatley received her daughter's diagnosis three years after a good friend of hers received the same news.

"We discovered a Facebook group in 2015 and we initiated contact with one of the members of the family, and we met with a couple of family members in March 2015," said Capt. Clay Groover, MCAS Beaufort.

Three months later, an investigation would begin.

"At the request of these families, the Marine Corps requested the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center launch a study to address their concerns," said Capt. Groover.

"That investigation is still ongoing and they are doing soil samples, and I understand that process takes a very long time," Whatley said.

It's been almost two years since the investigation launched, and now families are anxious for answers.

"It took tremendous courage for this mother to tell her story in such a candid and sensitive way, and for her to remain so strong for her daughter," said Capt. Groover.

"I really believe if anybody, if I had it in the back of my mind, that cancer was happening to the children that lived where we lived, that I would have taken her to the doctor so much sooner, and spared her," Whatley said.

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center did not release any additional details but did confirm that there is an ongoing public health review. They plan to release the results of their findings this summer.

Since the video was posted over the weekend, five more parents have come forward, bringing the total to 13 children who lived in Laurel Bay diagnosed with cancer.

For more information on the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, click here.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center:
  • Main Number: 757.953.0700
  • Health and Safety: 757.953.0932

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