James B. gave me a call recently to talk about a mesothelioma fundraising event he will be hosting in October. After a few minutes of talking, I knew there was more to his story. It turns out James works with the State of Florida as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist. What that means it that he assists veterans in finding employment, he provides resume assistance, and he helps in overcoming any barriers to employment they might have. James really felt the need to get involved with Veterans as he also served in the United States Marine Corps.
When we got back to the topic of his fundraiser, I found out that his father, also named James, passed away from asbestos cancer. This is what drove his desire to host an event that would get some attention for mesothelioma and hopefully raise awareness. We are withholding his last name over privacy concerns.
How did you first hear about mesothelioma?
My dad was diagnosed with it in May of 2008 at stage 3 of 4.
Do you know where your father came in contact with asbestos?
While he served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. He was a DC2/Fire Fighter on the USS Coral Sea, Aircraft carrier.
What treatment options did he choose to do?
I only know of him undergoing chemotherapy and whatever other medicine they may have given him, but it only prolonged the inevitable unfortunately, because he was too far along.
Where did you turn to for information?
We (my family) just looked up information on the internet as much as we could since my parents did not share too many details with us.
Tell us about how you are honoring him.
I have teamed up with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), and I am in the process of organizing “Soccer for a Cure”, a special fundraising event with proceeds benefiting the MARF. The event, which will take place on November 9-11, 2012 near Brandon FL, will raise funds and awareness for research while attempting to break the world record of the longest soccer game ever played.
What message would you like to send to the community?
Get as educated as possible about mesothelioma and what the possible treatment options are. Help raise awareness whenever possible. And if you know someone who has it, a loved one or friend, support them and cherish every minute you have with them. I have seen what this cancer can do first hand and I don’t wish that on anyone.
We would like to thank James for his courageous efforts in spreading the word about mesothelioma and sharing his experiences with us. We wish him the best with Soccer For a Cure. For more information on Soccer For a Cure, or to make a donation, you can visit their website.
Update: The date and location for Soccer For a Cure has changed to November 9-11 near Brandon, FL.