Wednesday April 23, 2014
Agent Orange Legacy In Washington D.C.Sharon L Perry & Danielle Reyes for Salem-News.com
My mother and I have embarked on a journey as advocate for the rights of the children of Vietnam Veterans whose biological parent(s) were exposed to Agent Orange.
(WASHINGTON DC) -
I cannot express to you just how urgent the need for proper medical intervention is for these adult children and future generations to come.
We do not want our children to suffer as we have!
As difficult as it was for me to travel to Washington DC I did it. I did it to serve as voice for not only myself but, all of the children of Vietnam Veterans who are sick and unable to get proper medical intervention.
Something needs to be done now!
Agent Orange Legacy in DC
In 2012, the Institute of Medicine held their Ninth Biennial, Agent Orange Update Committee Meeting on June 28-29 in Washington D.C. I traveled to our nation's Capitol along with my family to give testimony in front of the IOM Agent Orange Update Committee.
My attendance at this meeting was a milestone for our small organization. Our primary goal is to create a permanent presence on Capitol Hill; on behalf of the children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Although our families continue to suffer, progress is being made.
After my father passed in 2005 I began having more health issues. I couldn’t find any medical help and was suffering in pain. My mother began making phone calls, doing research on-line, sending emails in hopes that someone would be able to get the medical help that I was in desperate need of. As a result, Agent Orange Legacy was born. You can find us at www.agentorangelegacy.com and www.facebook.com/
Agent Orange Update History
In 1991 Congress established Public Law 102-4, also known as "The Agent Orange Act of 1991", after decades of concern surrounding the possible long-term health consequences of exposures to herbicides and the contaminant, dioxin. The Institute of Medicine began holding public sessions, as part of an ongoing process.
In 2012, the IOM held their first Agent Orange Update Committee Meeting of the Ninth Biennial Update; to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans Exposed to Herbicides since the Agent Orange Act of 1991 was signed into law. The IOM held four (4) public sessions around the country to hear issues related to health effects in veterans associated with the herbicides sprayed during the Vietnam War.
IOM recommended, after the (Eighth) Biennial Update, that laboratory research be conducted to characterize Agent Oranges potential for inducing epigenetic modifications; paternally transmitted to offspring. The IOM also recommends resolving questions regarding several health outcomes, most importantly COPD, tonsil cancer, melanoma, brain cancer, Alzheimers disease.
Agent Orange Legacy Founded in 2007
I am the daughter of a deceased Vietnam veteran. I am disabled due to my father’s service in Vietnam and exposure to Agent Orange. My father, Reuben C. Perry III, was service connected at 100 %. He was also receiving special monthly compensation (SMC) for the loss of the use of his feet. My father died June 3, 2005 and later his death was found to be service connected.
My mother, Sharon L. Perry, and I founded Agent Orange Legacy in 2007 after my mother’s life long partner (my father) succumbed to illnesses connected to his service in the Vietnam War, and exposure to Agent Orange in 2005. My mother has struggled for decades to find answers. I have suffered from mysterious life long illnesses which were the catalyst instrumental to the decision to begin such a venture.
I have been plagued and have suffered from unexplained illnesses most of my life. I continue to suffer from debilitating muscle spasms which have left me disabled and rated as a Helpless Child by the VA. I also suffer from 28 illnesses and was recently diagnosed with gastroparesis, hiatus hernia, Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction Disorder. I await genetic testing and am a viable candidate for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
Since my mother and I started out we have been advocating for the services, support and rights of the children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their families. Our long term goal is to create a permanent presence on Captiol Hill. Our greatest hope is to one day testify in front of Congress about the effects Agent Orange has had, and still is having on the lives of the adult children, grandchildren and successive generations of Vietnam Veterans.
However, I did testify in front of The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Agent Orange Update Committee this past June at the Committee’s first meeting in Washington D.C. held at the National Academy of Science building. This trip was a milestone for Agent Orange Legacy, five (5) years in the making.
After we founded Agent Orange Legacy we were shocked to learn very few adult children had even heard of Agent Orange. Most of the children of Vietnam veterans, knew very little about Agent Orange, or did not connect their birth defects and/or health problems to their parent(s) exposure to Agent Orange. We discovered that there were many adult children of Vietnam Veterans and their families that were either caring for, or grieving for the veteran in their life.
My mother and I have embarked on a journey. A journey to find help, services, and support as well as advocate for the rights of the children of Vietnam Veterans whose biological parent(s) were exposed to Agent Orange, dioxin during their service in the Vietnam War.
Findings Reported to Committee
I reported to the Committee the following findings from our research:
Since 2007 we have been gathering health information from our members who are children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
1) 92% of our members report they have birth defects and/or suffer from autoimmune or rare disease, mental health illness and/or learning disabilities.
2) Our research leads us to believe the adult children are at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and many different forms of cancer at a much higher rate of risk than the average American and are at a greater risk for developing them at a younger age than is normally expected.
3) There are adult children who were born and or lived on military bases such as Camp Lejeune where military families have been exposed to toxic chemicals; for instance contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
4) There are many children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans who have served in the Gulf, lraq and Afghanistan theaters of war and have multiple exposures to toxic chemicals that are considered mutagenic and teratogenic.
Agent Orange Legacy supports the following actions be taken
1) Children’s Center (Center of Excellence) which would provide specific medical treatment related to Agent Orange exposure and conduct scientific studies. Click here to sign the petition to establish a children’s center. (http://www.causes.com/
2) Genetic testing for the adult children and successive generations to assist in identifying genetic mutations which can be linked to chemical exposures.
1) Register with Birth Defect Research for Children National Birth Defect Registry
2) Petition for Children’s Center. Signing this petition will help thousands of Vietnam Veterans' children that are in dire need of specific medical treatment related to Agent Orange exposure.
Sharon Perry of Agent Orange Legacy
Sharon is the widow of Vietnam veteran, Reuben 'Bud' C. Perry III, who lost his life due to exposure to Agent Orange. Sharon believes both of their children, Danielle Reyes & Lisbeth Perry suffer the intergenerational affects of their father's exposure to agent orange.
Sharon holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Maine and worked as a town manager for six years. Her career in town management was cut short due to her husband's illnesses. Sharon cared for her husband for six years prior to his death in 2005.
Sharon is one of so many Americans whose lives have been adversely affected by the effects of Agent Orange. Many people do not realize that dioxins sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam have the potential to affect future generations, her mission is noble and extremely important.
Danielle Reyes, Founder of Agent Orange Legacy
Danielle is the daughter of deceased Vietnam Veteran, Reuben "Bud" C. Perry III. Danielle lost her father to Agent Orange and his service in Vietnam in 2005. Throughout her life, Danielle has been plagued by mysterious and debilitating muscle spasms as well as other unknown illnesses. Ms. Reyes has also struggled with learning disabilities and more. Mrs. Perry, Danielle's mother, has been fighting for her daughter her entire life.
Danielle now an adult with her own daughter, is still struggling with illnesses, some diagnosed and some remain undiagnosed. In their struggle to get proper medical intervention for Danielle, Sharon and Danielle have become a team. They have been working together since 2007 to get support and services for the children of Vietnam veterans whose biological parent(s) were exposed to dioxin during their service in the United States Military during the Vietnam War.
Danielle has offered her voice to all of the children of Vietnam veterans, by speaking out and letting her voice be heard. In 2011 Danielle and Sharon meet with Vietnam Veterans of America's Director of Communications, Mokie Porter. Mokie interviewed Danielle about Agent Orange and it's effect on her life. Vietnam Veterans of Americas’ education campaign; Faces of Agent Orange produced a video of Danielle's interview for Agent Orange Legacy. In June of 2012 Danielle traveled to Washington D.C. to speak at the IOM, Institutes of Medicines Agent Orange Update Committee. The Committee meeting was held at the National Academy of the Sciences building. Ms. Reyes raises awareness everyday by talking to people locally as well as online.
"I do not want my daughter or any other child to suffer as I have. " ~ Danielle Reyes~
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