A private fund in Japan has begun providing financial assistance for young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer offers a lump sum of 100,000 yen, or 850 dollars, to help pay for treatment for patients up to the age of 25. The first payments were made to 35 people on Monday.
The fund’s name refers to March 11th, 2011, when a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering tsunami that crippled a nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
People in Fukushima and 14 other prefectures in eastern Japan are eligible to apply.
Fund officials say that 9 of the 35 recipients are not residents of Fukushima Prefecture. They say that in at least one case, the cancer had spread to the lungs when the diagnosis was made.
They are soliciting applications for the assistance as well as donations.
An official says the fund hopes to offer support to as many people as possible, adding that the cost of treatment weighs heavily on some families.