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St. Louis Co. man believes Coldwater Creek is connected to his best friend's cancer death

"It's important for me to help people from keeping them from going through this," Foley explains.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Going down memory lane, Brendan Foley looked at what he called precious moments Saturday afternoon. 

In his hands, he shuffled through old photos and handwritten letters.

He holds on tight to these times with his late best friend Mike Montgomery.

Credit: KSDK

The two grew up in Florissant, just about half a mile away from Coldwater Creek. 

"We would take our bicycles, ride them over to the creek, play in the creek, catch crawdads. We were literally to our necks in the creek, a lot of times playing in it," Foley said

The two were inseparable, he said. But, they've been apart for more than a decade.

"Mike passed away in 2007, and it was a rare form of brain tumor that was pretty aggressive. He did everything he could to fight and it took his life. Time heals but I still miss Mike. We were very close. He was only 39," Foley said, choking up.

Foley said he believes Mike's health troubles are tied to Coldwater Creek.

"I don't have proof, but I do (believe that) because of the rare tumor he had. It was fairly quick. It was about two years. It was really painful losing him. I still think about him," Foley said.

In this 2019 'Evaluation of Community Exposures Related to Coldwater Creek' analysis from the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it said children and adults who played in or around Coldwater Creek from the 1960s to the 1990s may have been exposed to radiological contaminants.

The CDC estimated this exposure could have increased cancers.

The duo played there in the late '70s and early '80s.

Foley said, he doesn't have any current health risks but knows others in the area have faced health problems. 

Now more than ever, he worries.

He reached out to 5 On Your Side after we reported about the potential red flags at Jana Elementary. 

His goal is to create change for Mike.

"I worry (for) every person, child, adult around that contaminated soil. Find the funds to clean up; it needs to be done. It's important for me to help people, keeping them from going through this," Foley said.

As far as Jana Elementary, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin sampling inside and outside the school on Monday.

5 On Your Side has reached out for interviews with the Hazelwood School District and the superintendent. We have not heard back.

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