Free brain tumor screenings canceled in Woodbridge; town says permit is needed
There is a new twist regarding the controversy over a suspected cancer cluster linked to Colonia High School. The Brain Tumor Foundation is scrambling to find a new place to give free screenings after Woodbridge officials put a stop to the event.
The foundation says the town is threatening the business that was going to host the event, which was set to begin on Wednesday. About 120 people had signed up for the free screenings as many worried that they could develop cancer.
“I was really excited to hopefully, you know, get a clear scan and be able to move on and not be afraid,” says Michelle McGeehan, who graduated from the high school in 1992.
McGeehan says she is afraid, even after the Woodbridge mayor and state officials said that a study showed no link between Colonia High School and more than 100 cases of brain tumors.
But many residents say they are still concerned and are pushing for more testing.
McGeehan says she has thought about pulling her kids out of the school. She says she can’t get insurance to cover a screening.
“Doing this would hopefully allow people to find out before they start having symptoms,” she says. “Before they started having it be too late.”
The Brain Tumor Foundation’s testing machines are already in place. The event was supposed to be held at a dance studio in town. Woodbridge officials say that the studio needs a permit to host health screenings.
But Joy Cutrone, owner of Joy’s Dance House, says that officials showed up on Tuesday to make other threats at well.
“That I was in violation of barbequing in my parking lot the other night for my team,” she says.
She says she was told she would be fined.
A spokesperson for the Woodbridge mayor’s office claims this incident did not happen. But the spokesperson says a permit is still needed for the screening, which could take weeks.
“I think they’re just trying to intimidate us and scare us,” Cutrone says.
The Brain Tumor Foundation is now moving the event out of concern for the dance studio. The foundation says their focus is on research and saving lives. They say that Woodbridge is unique because of the number of brain tumors in a small population.
A spokesperson Woodbridge says the mayor has no stance on whether the testing should go forward. The town's only issue is the permit. A new location is still being worked on.