Picking Your Support Team

Serious illnesses like asbestos-related diseases create many needs and concerns. One of the biggest needs is this: picking teammates to stand by you.

Find your advocates. Find your helpers.

An advocate is anyone who fights for or serves another person’s interests. In this case, those interests can be complex (medical care and financial affairs) and they can be mundane (cooking healthy meals, managing stress, making a home comfortable and accessible). There are plenty of jobs to fill.

Finding Your Advocates

You will want more than one advocate because each advocate can serve a different need.

My mom was her own best advocate. This was never more apparent than when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Soon after her diagnosis, she chose her own team of advocates.

Former mesothelioma caregiver Lorraine Kember discusses how her husband's medical team made a difference in their lives.

My sisters and other relatives had nursing backgrounds, so they gave her advice on making her home more comfortable and communicating with her medical team. I am a lawyer and worked on financial matters for many years, so I helped with her legal and business affairs. My dad did some of everything, including driving her to and from medical appointments. My mom’s spiritual life was very important to her, so friends and neighbors visited to pray and read scriptures when she was too sick to go to church.

Here are some common types of advocates for people with asbestos-related diseases:

Take your time, and pick good advocates. My mother always knew how to get things done and was often the "go-to" person in our family and community. She taught me that a good advocate:

Although you may share some of my mom's needs, you also have your own unique needs. Whether you are choosing your own advocate or finding support for a loved one, my mom's experience offers some useful tips:

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