BOISE, Idaho — The final chapter of a journey that began 20 years ago for an Idaho cancer survivor is far from over.
“Cancer has affected my vision and my hearing significantly, it affected my hormones pretty significantly, as well as my memory. I will probably never be able to have children,” said Trevor Schaefer who survived brain cancer at a young age.
Long time Idahoan Trevor Schaefer is the inspiration for the law that passed in 2016 after coming to the conclusion that his cancer was caused by contaminated water in McCall.
“We had a lot of big forest fires in McCall in 1994 it burned thousands of acres and it burned through that mine site and burned through those mine tailings and sent them up into the air and into the wind currents that carried them into the lake where we all got our drinking water from and where we played,” he said.
Not long after his diagnosis, his mother did some research and came to find that four other children came down with the same type of brain cancer, also in McCall.
“Look what I have to deal with the rest of my life, and I’m considered one of the lucky ones,” he said.
Trevor’s law helps find cancer clusters in communities, caused by environmental issues. The law mandates federal assistance to communities experiencing contamination due to environmental issues and was intended to get help from the government in evaluating potential cancer clusters.
“It addresses cancer clusters or hot spots throughout the United States it authorizes federal agencies like the CDC to work with local and state governments and the community to address cancer cluster concerns.”
Former President Barack Obama passed Trevor’s law in 2016. Former President Donald Trump gave 1 million dollars in funding for the initiative in 2018. However, according to Schaefer, there's still one thing missing, guidelines from the CDC.
“They started that effort in 2018, so we are here four years later, and the new guidelines still are not complete and that’s important because those guidelines are a road map for state and local agencies to follow when they get a cancer cluster concern from a community,” Schaefer said.
It’s not the end of the road for Trevor’s Law. Schaefer recently received an invitation to be a panelist at President Biden’s cancer roundtable on April 4th, as part of the presidential plan to speed up the fight against cancer.
“We want President Biden to know about this and when he was campaigning here in 2019 in Boise I did speak with him briefly about the law, so he is aware of it, he did recognize it at that time,” Schaefer said. “We just want him to incorporate this into his Moonshot because it’s a natural fit and it really is a great road map for them to follow to accomplish his goals.”
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