Parents of Sophia Myers react to call for environmental study

Parents of Sophia Myers react to call for environmental study
There's no confirmed cluster in Jackson County, but before the Myers see any other family go through the pain they're going through they want to see something done. (Image Source: WLOX News)
There's no confirmed cluster in Jackson County, but before the Myers see any other family go through the pain they're going through they want to see something done. (Image Source: WLOX News)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Since the moment Joshua and Angel Myers learned their daughter, Sophia, 7, was terminally ill, they questioned how seemingly overnight she developed a rare and highly aggressive brain tumor.

"We're going to spend the rest of our lives finding out what causes it and finding a cure," said Angel Myers.

Sophia Myers is the third known case of DIPG in Jackson County. Jaxon Schoenberger, 6, died in 2014 after battling the illness, and Sophia Mohler, 8, died from DIPG in 2010.

"Two is too many. One is too many. This is a very rare disease and if you look just not at DIPG, but you look at all the cancers in this area, particularly pediatric cancer, something's not right," said Angel Myers.

State Representative Hank Zuber posted on Facebook Friday that the state is looking into the matter.

"I spoke to, sent names, and contact information of the three families involved in Ocean Springs to the Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Gary Rickard, and also spoke to the Governor's office. We discussed on a very preliminary basis of getting the 'wheels in motion' to see if there is a common cause and link, who else may have to be involved, and confirm that it is on their radar," Zuber said in a statement.

Ocean Springs mayor Shea Dobson is committed to the study as well.

"If they're concerned, I'm concerned, and so I want to get to the bottom of it. And Representative Hank Zuber and the governor and whoever it is from the state that's going to be looking into this, they can expect our full cooperation from our office," said Mayor Dobson.

Cancer Clusters, as they're called, are defined as a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a period of time. There's no confirmed cluster in Jackson County, but before the Myers see any other family go through the pain they're going through, they want to see something done.

"I think it's great that they're doing it, but we've pretty much already lost our daughter," said Joshua Myers.

Pediatric cancer clusters have been investigated in places like Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and as close as Mobile, Alabama. However, the CDC has very specific guidelines for determining clusters which make them hard to identify.

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