My name is Casey Burkeen, I am a ten year United States Army Veteran with multiple tours of duty. As a person I am a motivated hard working individual with a true passion for life. As of December of 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 3 bone cancer that originated in my spine and as of August of 2017 they have found traces in my chest. From the moment of diagnosis I panicked having no idea where this illness came from. After consulting multiple sources I learned that the most likely cause was due to Burn Pit Exposure from a tour to Iraq in 2007. Unfortunately, the pain I feel daily is overwhelming even with the simplest tasks which makes it very hard for me to work. I am afraid of aggressive pain killers due to the fact I don't want to become addicted to opiates. During my fight I've accrued many medical bills and had to either sell or watch repossession teams take the things I've worked my entire life to earn. A question you may ask yourself is why is the government and VA not taking care of me. I have fell victim to the system and numbers game. The VA and government are still gathering subjects and data before they issue funds due to burn pits, similar to the issue in Vietnam pertaining to Agent Orange. When I initially filled a claim with the Detroit VA for other things I experienced in combat, I was assured I would be taken care of. This wasn't the case. My information wasn't conveyed properly. Even things as easy as my name and tour dates were misfiled. I am now
fighting with the VA to ensure I receive more disability then I was initially given.
Since diagnosis I've had to move to Phoenix, Arizona with my parents. This is home to one of, if not the worst VA in the country. During my time here I've seen myself fall through the cracks of care. I'm not one that asks for help from anyone, but I ask everyone to hear and understand my story. I want everyone to be aware that I'm not the only veteran being treated poorly by the very people who are appointed to take care of us. I am trying to return to Michigan, where I'm from, to be around my support system and get myself away from the VA health care system. This will allow me to seek medical attention from University Of Michigan Health care system. I want to be able to pay rent and bills for at least a year and not have to worry or focus on medical costs while continuing my fight for disability.
Thank you for your time and consideration