“This month is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. My father-in-law was a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He passed away in 4 months. We never put it together that he was a veteran and that his condition was presumptively related to his service. Below, my husband Jonathan shares his story. We hope you also take a moment to watch the video we put together in his memory.” ––Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW, VetsFirst director of Veterans Policy.

My dad, James Ansley, was a Vietnam veteran. He died on January 4, 2008. Four months earlier, he had been diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Anytime something like this happens it is difficult at best.

Unfortunately, my dad’s fortunes crashed with the real estate market in Florida. When he got sick, he had no health insurance and few other resources.

My family did not have time to process the emotions of the situation. We spent our time applying for Medicaid, Social Security disability, and food stamps for my dad. We also moved him from Florida to live with my sister in Arkansas.

It wasn’t until after he passed away that we realized his cancer was presumptively related to his military service in Vietnam. If we had understood VA benefits, we would have known that he most likely would have been eligible for VA disability compensation and health care.

My dad liked to help people. This month is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. It is in his memory that my wife Heather and I pass along his story in hopes of helping another family.

If you or someone you know served in Vietnam and has cancer or another serious disease, please check here to see if you may be eligible for VA benefits.

Jonathan Ansley

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