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Three River Valley leukemia survivors
Amanda Lovett, Jami Cummings and Kim Tolnar:
October 12, 2000
Governor Bob Taft
Dear Governor Taft:
If you knew there were children playing on railroad tracks with a train approaching, would you get them out of the way? We believe you certainly would and that is why we respectfully ask that you read Dr. Bruce Molholt's report on River Valley. Dr. Bruce Molholt, toxicologist, was hired with federal moneys appropriated to the Restoration Advisory Board in Marion, Ohio with regards to the Marion Engineer Depot and Scioto Ordnance Plant. When you read his report, you will see that Dr. Molholt is extremely concerned about the real risk to those students who continue to attend school on the River Valley grounds.
We already know the risks because each of us attended River Valley Middle and High Schools and each of us has had leukemia. It is a very rare and difficult cancer. Though it is rare, we are not alone. There are other RV graduates and attendees who, at too young an age, found out that this cancer was all too real.
The connection has been made that the school grounds pose a risk for students. Much of the land is fenced and off-limits and millions of dollars have been spent to study our school. There are also millions appropriated to moving our schools. What we don't understand is why there are students still there. The cancer problems are real. The toxic contamination is there. Why do we continue to gamble with the children at River Valley?
Governor Taft, please read this report. We have been told throughout this investigation by those in charge that there is 'no immediate health risk.' It is clear that this independent doctor of toxicology is not making this qualified distinction. Risk is risk whether it is short term or long term and the damage is irreversible. Based on his evaluation, there has been, and will continue to be pathways to students which puts them in danger of exposure to known carcinogens.
We paid the price with our health, and we have experienced a tremendous loss of youth and time in fighting this deadly disease. Please don't let more children pay the price.
We know that you care about the health and well-being of every Ohio student. We also know, if you read Dr. Molholt's report, you will see that River Valley students are in harm's way. There are hundreds of them counting on you to do the right thing and we are dedicated to making sure not on more innocent child is affected.
The train is fast approaching and, while the plan is to get these children off the tracks some day, those who are there right now are in danger of a lifetime of serious health problems. Are you ready to do what is in the best interest of these children? We are counting on you to say: "Yes."
Kim Tolnar, 1983 RV graduate