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Community Rallies Around Cancer-Stricken Military Veteran

Jason Wright and His Wife Myrlande Say They're Humbled by the Outpouring of Support

When he sits down to Thanksgiving dinner with his family, Jason Wright says he’ll have a long list of things to be thankful for this year.

The 54-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, who works as a supervisor of respiratory care at NYU Langone Health in Brooklyn, N.Y., was diagnosed in 2021 with several different forms of cancer, which he says resulted from highly polluted water he drank or used while working at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. 

The military has determined that exposure to the water is linked to numerous cancers and conditions among former service members and the issue has spawned dozens of class-action lawsuits seeking benefits for those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune.

While battling his own cancers these last two years, Jason, who also serves as the director of respiratory care at the West Haven Veterans Administration, and his wife, Myrlande, bought a home on Indian Trail Drive in Glastonbury. They moved here in 2023 with their three daughters, 7-year old twins, Mikaella and Abigail, and 19-year-old Victoria. 

The recently updated property still needed some work, including air conditioning, landscaping and tree removal, and Jason wanted to expand his unfinished basement into additional living space. He says he wants to ensure his family has a home that meets their needs for years to come. 

“I want to make sure they have nothing to worry about,” he says. 

The Realtor who helped the couple buy the home, Kadji Anderson, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England, immediately jumped in to help by finding and lining up local contractors. 

And when those business owners heard Jason’s story, they banded together to help him by either doing their work at greatly discounted prices, or, in some cases, by donating goods and services for free. 

“When I met with him and learned he had cancer and how he got it, it really pulled at my heartstrings,” says Jim Murray, owner of the home improvement contracting firm, J. Murray Home Solutions. Jim offered to help by undertaking work at Jason’s home for a fraction of the regular cost.

He also got in touch with a manager of the Home Depot in Glastonbury, to see if the store could donate some of the materials. Home Depot has supplied nearly $6,000 worth of products and a grant has been opened for continued support of the ongoing renovations. 

Other local businesses donating time and services include Mike Zola of A2Z, which is installing air conditioning at a discounted price, and Jody Kretzmer, of Sullivan Tree & Landscaping, who is helping out with tree removal.

Jason says he’s touched and overwhelmed by the outpouring of care and help he’s received.  

“The impact of the community support is refreshing, inspirational, motivating, and above and beyond expected care and support from the community. This is what I feel like our country, which is so divided right now, should be. We are more than just fellow passengers to the grave, we are our sisters, brothers and keepers.”

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