HUNTERSVILLE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Dan Parks is a proud Navy veteran and a cancer survivor, but he didn't escape the cancer battle unscathed. Parks now has a tube in his throat making it very difficult for him to talk for long periods of time.
Doctors said his cancer stems from his time in the Navy. Parks was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut.
Working with weapons and warheads led Parks to being exposed to radiation. Even his Discharge papers say he was exposed to ionized radiation. When parks went to the Department of Veterans Affairs to apply for his benefits, he was denied.
The VA said there’s no proof he was exposed to radiation.
"It's disheartening to open the mailbox and see denied, denied," Parks said.
Parks said the documents he submitted prove he was in fact exposed to ionized radiation. Even Veteran Affairs doctors submitting letters saying his cancer history is related to the exposure. His claim denied not just once but three times.
"I don't know what else to get for proof. I mean, it's there. The doctor I went to for my final evaluation. He sent letters from the mayo clinic and evidently they didn't look at it," Parks said.
Parks family friend, Stacy Phillips has had enough. She started an online petition to do something about it and help Parks. Within a week, her petition is going viral and getting over 5,000 signatures.
"I keep hearing these stories over and over again and I feel like that’s why the petition has gotten so popular because people are fed up with something that shouldn't be a problem," Phillips said.
"I’m not doing this to be mean. I’m not doing to harass the VA, I’m simply doing it because I think I deserve it," Parks said.
Parks is thankful for all the signatures and want people continue to sign the petition. He hopes this helps change the VA’s mind but also inspire other veterans to not give up their fight either.
"His hope inspires me and I know it'll inspire other people and maybe it will inspire the VA to do the right thing," Phillips said.
Click here to sign the petition for Parks.