Emily Walsh, the Community Outreach Director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance contacted me and asked if I would spread the word about the disease, this being Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Glad to have such a resourceful and passionate person leading the cause!
I learned about this form of cancer when my best friend’s partner was diagnosed. He was a life coach, an educator, leader, and a true gentleman. Bill Robinson died on August 2, 2013. At his celebration of life many of his colleagues spoke of his rare and wonderful qualities. I had every intention of joining them at the microphone, but they spoke so eloquently that I decided to tuck my 3X5 cards in my pocket and remain silent. I have regretted that decision. I may not be the best public speaker, but I loved this man and had something to say. Besides, Bill would have been the last one to care if I’d read every word from my cards or spoke without aid.
Bill took great pleasure in meeting new people. No one could walk away from a conversation with him and not feel as if someone truly listened and cared. To Bill, everyone has a unique story and he relished them all. He was the kind of guy who made every person he met feel like they were something special. I looked through my text messages before I wrote this and smiled at his wonderful greetings for all occasions. Be it Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, or 4th of July…Bill acknowledged it. And even when doctors gave him the news he would be moving to hospice, he wrote “I am laying in bed reflecting on thoughts about love, kindness, support, and thoughtfulness.”
Bill accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He didn’t let moss grow…that’s for sure. He touched so many people and brought so much joy. His laugh was deep and his love infectious. He was always up for an adventure and found the positive in every situation. The world is not quite as bright without that big laugh and personality. They don’t come any better and he will be forever missed.
Please take a moment to read Emily Walsh’s important information about Mesothelioma, a disease…that with heightened awareness and action, could be put to rest instead of our loved ones.
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Mesothelioma — a long word you may have heard on a commercial or two, but do you know what it means? This rare and deadly cancer is sadly lacking awareness. In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day this September 26, read on for the top 8 things you don’t know about this cancer, but should. Then share them. The key to saving lives starts with education.
1. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is invisible to the naked eye. Once inhaled, these fibers may infect the protective lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity, or cardiac cavity.
2. No amount of exposure is safe. Just exposing yourself once could put you at risk for developing the disease later on in life. If you were exposed today, you may not be aware until 2043, as the average latency period is about 30 – 40 years.
3. Asbestos was once used in more than 3,000 consumer products. These include household items, some of which may still be in use. Some of these even include hair dryers, crock pots, and cigarette filters.
4. It can be found in many older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings. Homes built prior to the 1970’s, along with a myriad of public buildings still could potentially contain asbestos because of the materials used in the original construction.
5. Asbestos exposure is still the LEADING CAUSE of occupational cancer in the US. Even after 30 years since the United States government issued stern warnings about the continued use of asbestos, many workers who were once exposed are now at risk of developing the disease.
6. United States Veterans are at the greatest risk. For many years, asbestos was used across all branches of the military. Many veterans and shipyard workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos from several different applications. US Navy veterans who served during World War II and the Korean Conflict unfortunately have the highest incidences of asbestos related disease, including mesothelioma.
7. Asbestos is still not banned in the US. Federal law requires the newly manufactured products contain no more than 1% asbestos. Although its use is regulated, roughly 30 million pounds are still being used each year.
8. Mesothelioma can be caused by secondary exposure. Family members of those who were directly affected by on-the-job asbestos exposure may also at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Want to do something to help this Mesothelioma Awareness Day? Our friend and 7 year survivor, Heather Von St. James, needs your help. Check out her campaign and share her message to help educate and save lives. Be a voice for the victims.
To read more or visit the blog, please go to this website.
Thanks for reading and spreading awareness!