Posted: Aug 2, 2012 5:45 PM by Jenise Fernandez
Updated: Aug 2, 2012 7:15 PM
Today was the last day on the job for a Eunice detective. He's leaving the department to be treated for a mysterious illness he developed while serving in the Gulf War.
Eunice juvenile detective Ronnie Whaley is turning in his badge and heading to the VA hospital in Houston. He'll be treated for a skin condition he was diagnosed with after being exposed to chemicals during the Gulf War. The condition so rare, doctors don't even have a name for it.
"My commander told me, we were suppose to be in an area where chemicals were used against American troops," said Whaley.
White patches started appearing on his skin about a year ago, now they cover 40 percent of his body. Previous treatments haven't worked.
"Everyone looks at my hands and wonders, what's wrong with him?"
Whaley served as juvenile detective for eight years and started a youth camp to help troubled juveniles get their lives back on track. He says it's been rewarding and will miss it.
"It was a bond, much like what I had in the military," said Whaley.
Doctors worry his skin condition may lead to cancer. Whaley will undergo intense radiation therapy three times a week with no guarantee it'll work, but like a true soldier, he's prepared to fight.
" I have the mindset to where, if there's a mountain I'm going to climb it, go over it, go around it, or go under it, to get where I need to be," said Whaley.
Whaley's illness doesn't have a specific name, but the US Department of Veterans Affairs defines any unexplained illness found in Gulf War veterans as "The Gulf War Syndrome." Some symptoms include, stomach problems, widespread muscle pains, and chronic fatigue. Gulf War Syndrome affects as many as 32 percent of Gulf War veterans.