Area families say there’s ‘something in the air

MIDDLETOWN — Retired AK Steel worker Bill Daley was an avid golfer and marathon runner.

But a grade 4 malignant brain tumor, discovered in January 2008, caused him to lose his peripheral vision in both eyes. He suffered seizures, brain fog, slipped into a coma for about 10 days, and slowly lost his mobility. He died Feb. 9, 2009.

Daley’s children — son, Eric, 39, of Liberty Twp. and daughter, Michelle Daley Walton, 37, now of California — struggled to make sense of what had caused this in a seemingly healthy man.

“There has to be something in the water. Something in the air,’’ they feared.

Five years earlier, one of Daley’s best friends, Greg Lansaw, died of glioblastoma brain cancer, the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer.

Then Daly’s family learned that a friend, Jeff Jewell, formerly of Middletown, was in the hospital. The diagnosis: a grade 4 glioma.

“When Jeff got diagnosed I thought there has to be something about Middletown,’’ Eric Daley said.

So did his sister, a pharmaceutical saleswoman.

Walton asked everyone on her cell, email and Facebook contact lists to send information about anyone in Middletown affected by cancer.

The response was astounding. Walton discovered 11 people in Middletown were diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer since 2004.