Mother Wants To Know How Son Got Hodgkin's

November 21, 1990|By Dianne Williams Hayes | Dianne Williams Hayes,Staff writer

Linda Tetrault is fighting to find out what made her son is sick.

Alan,a senior at Northeast High in Pasadena,is among three students at the school to have contracted Hodgkin's disease within the past five years.

Shuffling her papers Monday night in preparation to make her plea to board members for help,Tetrault asked that the school grounds be throughly checked.She was joined by about 20 other parents and teachers.

All three students were llth-graders,playing at least two sports,when they were diagnosed.

Tetrault can still remember the numb feeling of watching her son,in severe pain being rushed to the hospital in March.He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's,a disease characterized by a progressive enlargements of the lymph nodes,and which often leads to removal of the spleen.Although rarely fatal by itself,the disease can lead to complications.The cause of the disease is unknown.

"After three surgeries in three months and removal of his spleen,doctors say the disease has a 97 percent curability,"Tetrault said yesterday."He's accepted it,but he lives with the fact that(the disease)could come back."

After receiving a promise from School Superintendent Larry L.Lorton to report back to her,Tetrault said she was a little relieved.

"The school board is more receptive than last year," she said yesterday."By all means it is an emergency.My concern is that I don't want to see another family go through what we are going through.

"No one knows for sure to say that enviornmental factors(are not responsible).We can't stop searching for answers.Predictions are that 12 new cases are expected for every 100,000 people.We have three cases in a student body of 600."

Matt Gallagher,a junior at the school,was diagnosed with the disease two weeks ago.Michael Brouillette,a 1985 graduate,was the first reported case.All three boys were 16 when they were diagnosed.

Michael also attended Monday's meeting,asking that the board investigate whether the three cases are more than just coincidence.

"There's concern from alumni and students,"Brouillette told board members." Costs for checking the schools is a small amount compared to the monetary expenses the families have to go through."

Tom Leary,the school systems' enviornmental program manager,said his office is cooperating with the county health department.Though the building is in the midst of asbestos removal that may take five to seven years to complete,school officals doubt there is any connection.

"We will check all the chemicals,fertilizers used on the playing fields and custodial supplies," Leary said."Hopefully,we will have some results within two weeks.That depends on how extensive the tests will be."

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