ST CLAIR, Mich. (WJBK) - A St. Clair father and son both battling brain cancer are worried about the future as medical bills pile up.
At just 11 years old, Dylan is battling a rare brain cancer that has spread to his spine. He undergoes radiation five days a week. As if that wasn't enough to handle - just two weeks ago, his dad was diagnosed with brain cancer as well.
"The nurse came out crying - just in disbelief that she had to tell this family again that Dan had a 5-6 centimeter mass on his brain. Terminal. They couldn't get it all," said family friend Danielle Williams.
Dan, just 45 years old, is a carpenter in St. Clair. A husband and father of four beautiful children, he’s learning he might not have long to live.
“No family should ever, let alone having to deal with their son having a rare brain cancer, having son and father fighting for their life at the same time," Williams said.
Friends say the family members are just the latest victims of an alarming trend plaguing Marine City, as activists claim nearby coal and chemical plants are making people in the area sick.
Williams' own daughter was part of a cluster of kids in Marine City diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms tumor back in 2011. She's fine now, but Williams is convinced the rare cancers are environmental, caused by coal burning plants in St. Clair and chemical plants across the river in Sarnia.
"Not only the water because we live on chemical valley - with the 67 chemical plants there - we have very dirty air," Williams said.
In 2013, the St. Clair County health department investigated the Wilms tumor cases but their findings were inconclusive.
Friends are now organizing fundraisers and a GoFundMe account, hoping to help the family financially. Click here if you would like to donate.
"(Dan was) in front of his church family, praying to God - give him the cancer and let his son live. He has a life, and he needs to get married. He needs to do all these things, just give it to me. And a week after that, literally a week after that, he was diagnosed with his brain cancer. So we're praying for a miracle for both of them," Williams said.
Donations can also be made to the Popescu Family Benefit Fund at the Chemical Bank, 270 Clinton Ave. in St. Clair.
A benefit will be held from 2-8 p.m. Sept. 30 at the War Water Brewery, 201 North Riverside Ave. in St. Clair, Mich. Tickets are $20 and include pizza and two beers - they can be purchased at the door.