Polycythemia vera patient from Hometown area dies
Lester Barney Kester, a resident of the Ben Titus Road community north of Hometown, passed away at his home three days ago, according to his published obituary. He was 84. Among Kester's survivors is his wife, Betty, who also suffers from the rare blood malignancy.
The fact that two genetically unrelated people in one household were both diagnosed with the disease helped draw attention to what appeared to be the area's unusually high rate of PV -- an appearance that has since been confirmed as fact. Unfortunately, public health officials and political leaders have so far failed to take any action to address the problem, which independent scientists say appears to be environmental in origin. The Kesters live just downhill from the McAdoo Associates Superfund site, a former chemical dumping ground for some of America's biggest corporations; the Northeastern Power Co. waste-coal-burning power plant; and an enormous coal combustion waste dump dubbed "the Big Gorilla."
Mrs. Kester recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that doctors "flipped out" when her husband was diagnosed with the disease two years after her, so astounded were they to see two cases in one family. She admitted to feeling bitter over having their retirement years ruined by the disease but observed that at least they were up in years when diagnosed:
"I'm thinking of the children," she said. "We're old, we're ready to die. But the children that are coming up -- I'd like something done for them, if possible."There will be visitation with the Kester family from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Lamar Christ Funeral Home in Hometown. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, and with all of those whose lives have been touched by the region's environmental crisis.
Labels: polycythemia vera