Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gulf War Veteran with Terminal Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma Granted VA Benefits after Years of Waiting

Written by by: Alex Diprato, WPRI-TV

(CUMBERLAND, R.I. - WPRI) - A Marine who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, after he fought for our country, has been battling for his health.

After Eyewitness News looked into his story , we've learned the government has agreed to help cover his medical expenses and beyond.

Doctors say, Jose Belliard has about 3 years to live. But, a new ruling from the VA or (Veterans Affairs) means Belliard's kids will have insurance and an education when he's no longer here.

Belliard waited two years for the phone call.

"It was something that, I just couldn't believe my ears," he said.

It's the end of a long battle for the Gulf War veteran.

"I was shaking, crying, everything you could imagine."

The Director of the Providence VA called Belliard personally, to tell him that he's been granted full benefits for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Belliard said he developed the cancer spreading a chemical on Iraqi prisoners to kill lice.

The VA's decision means his medical costs are covered, and his three children will have an education when he's gone.

"The best gift I can give my kids is a college education. If I would've still been around, I would've been working towards that," said Belliard.

It's a decision that Belliard knew he had to keep fighting for.

"It hasn't been easy but at least I can, I can breathe a little better."

Belliard hopes his case will serve as a wake-up call for how our country treats its veterans.

"It is amazing that someone who serves their country has to wait that long for their family to get relief."
But most of all, he said he enjoys being able to spend time with his family. Now that he's not paying for his cancer treatments on his own.

"My kids don't have to save their allowance to take their father to the movies anymore. I can take them to the movies."

No comments: