Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

September has been a really trying month in a lot of different ways.  It's contained a lot of fun and fabulousness too - getting to visit with my parents and in-laws is always amazing - but there's a lot going on in our lives right now and sometimes I just feel tremendous stress.

To take myself out of self-pity (which is something I fall into much more easily than I'd care to admit), I think about those enduring hardships much worse than I've ever had to face - and doing it with more grace than I can imagine.  My friend Lu is one; I have some family members who I look to as well.

For today's post, however, I'm writing about someone I've never met and about a disease I've never been touched by.  Given that it's such a small world, however, I'm sure at least one person who reads this will have had some kind of personal experience with this preventable yet deadly disease.

I was contacted by a man asking me to share his wife's story and some facts about Mesothelioma.  This Friday, September 26th, is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and we are hoping other bloggers will join in spreading the word about this disease.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that is directly linked to exposure to asbestos.  Asbestos was once widely used (and is still present in many of buildings today) for everything from insulation to fire proof vests - even being mixed in with cement.  It's a naturally occurring mineral - yet it is a toxic carcinogen that many developed countries (including Canada and Russia) still use.  Although the EPA banned the use of most asbestos in the USA in 1989, that regulation was overturned in 1991.  Now only a very few asbestos-related products are banned in the US - this means that a known cause of cancer is being used in our homes, workplaces, and who knows what else.  Why?  Convenience?
Cameron, Lily, and Heather

Between 2,500 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year and on average, the patient is given only 10 months to live.

Cameron Von St James's wife, Heather, was diagnosed with mesothelioma eight years ago.  Three months after giving birth to their daughter Lily, she was told she had only fifteen months to live.  Amazingly, after a life-saving surgery that included removal of her left lung, she has survived and thrived.
Lily and Heather

Heather and her family are just a few of the many voices who are speaking out to raise awareness about this preventable, deadly disease.  Friday is the 10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  Give this post a share, write to your representatives, and help start a national conversation about preventing anyone else from having to endure what this family and thousands of others are enduring.

Follow Heather on social media via Facebook and Twitter, and check out her Mesothelioma Awareness page here.

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