Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Families still feeling effects of Agent Orange
Brendan Olsen began toddlerhood in the foothills of North Carolina, where he chased salamanders and carried bread crust outside so he could study the ants that marched toward the crumbs. Lynn and Ron Olsen had moved from New York to the Mount Airy area because they wanted their boys to grow up with an appreciation for nature, for a simpler life.
By the time he was 3, though, Brendan was spending less time in nature and more time in hospitals. He complained of nonstop pain and cried for weeks on end. When doctors couldn't diagnose his medical problem, he was sent to a home for emotionally disturbed children. Through his parents' persistence, though, he was eventually diagnosed with spinal cancer.
Brendan's childhood zest for life was tempered by the debilitating disease. At age 4, his right side was paralyzed. He had triumphs and setbacks and more surgeries than birthday parties. Eventually, he was paralyzed from the neck down.
After a long path of testing and treatment, Brendan succumbed to the cancer at age 12.

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