There has been a devastating development in a story we first reported a month ago.
Army veteran John Marshall was fighting terminal cancer while at the same time, fighting the Phoenix VA for service-related benefits for his time served. Sadly, Marshall died this week. He was only 31 years old.
Marshall left his hospital bed to share one of his dying wishes back in late February. "I just want the benefits for my family and for the kids and that's why I'm doing this so it's very tough," he said.
Sadly, the husband and father of two young children lost his battle with soft tissue sarcoma on Tuesday night. He was still waiting to be granted benefits from the VA healthcare system.
Little Riley and her brother Colt don't know their dad died yet. His wife Ashley doesn't know how she's going to take care of them now. "I'm a teacher and you don't make a lot of money doing that, and that's something I always wanted to do," she said.
Marshall was a decorated combat veteran who tied his cancer to hours spent over burn pits in Iraq. The VA said it was a developmental defect. "When it came through and he was denied everything, it was very much a shock to him and to us," she said.
It's something neither would accept, and they questioned how the carcinogens he was exposed to could not be connected. Now the single widowed mother is on a crusade for VA change and says she's proud of what her husband tried to do for those cases she fears are to follow. "I really hope that his fight, somebody stands up and sees it, you know," she said.
I reached out to the VA to see if they will be awarding Mrs. Marshall survivor benefits and received almost immediate confirmation that they will be reaching out to her to help through this difficult and overwhelming process. It remains to be seen whether the VA will be paying for any of the end-of-life care Marshall had to get from another hospital in the Valley.
The family has set up a gofundme page to help with the astronomical expenses.
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