Family leaves Florida to get away from oil leak - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family leaves Florida to get away from oil leak

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

LAKE PARK, GA (WALB) –A family now living in Lowndes County recently left Florida to get away from the oil leak.

The father was an oysterman worried about the future of that industry, but he was more worried about how the contaminated gulf might affect his daughter who's recovering from a rare pediatric cancer.

With her big smile and energetic personality, you would never know six-year-old Franshesca Hocker had to fight cancer.

"It's nice to be a brave little girl," said Franchesca Hocker.

She was diagnosed with a rare pediatric disease called pleuropulmonary blastoma at age four. Doctors at first thought she had whooping cough. But her condition worsened and one night in the emergency room the family found out the top part of her lung exploded. The rest of that lung was filled with a tumor.

"We have to do everything we can," said Darrell Hocker, Franchesca's father.

In a year, she had eight chemotherapy treatments, a bone marrow transplant and a lung removed.

The Hocker family lived in Eastpoint, Florida for 10 years. Hocker was a part-time oysterman. When he heard about the oil spill, he researched how he could get OSHA certified to help with relief efforts. He also learned about chemicals released from oil that could be dangerous to his young daughter if she breathed them in.

"What we've been through, why would you even take that chance of the air quality dropping or benzene and toxic things, to healthy person it may be minute," said Hocker.

Hocker decided he did not want to put his daughter at any kind of risk so they moved to Lake Park at the beginning of June.

Even though the oil hasn't reached the Eastpoint shore, the family has no plans of moving back for their daughter's protection and the long term effects the oil could have on our environment.

Franchesca Hocker's scans and tests indicate that she is now cancer free.


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