As a particularly involved member of the mesothelioma community at large, each year I attend every mesothelioma-specific conference that takes place in the US, as well as many thoracic and pulmonology association meetings and even international thoracic-medicine gatherings. They each lend something unique to me as an individual as well as the patients I work with every day; be it information about treatment and research, updates on the fight to ban asbestos, or an opportunity to band together with others who are committed to this cause and those personally fighting the disease.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Annual Symposium encompasses all of those qualities, and is an assembly I genuinely look forward to every year. Aside from its state of the art agenda packed with the nation’s leading expert panels and discussions, it’s a time to come together and re-connect with old friends, make new ones, and honor the individuals we miss dearly who are no longer with us as a result of this terrible disease. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation takes us beyond a sense of “community” and really instills a sense of “family” for anyone who attends. The weeks leading up to the event are always exciting as I begin to exchange emails with board members, doctors, patients and families I see each year and look forward to seeing again, as well as the rousing anticipation of meeting new people who are attending for the first time and the chance to welcome them into this strong and supportive alliance.
This meeting is for anyone who has been affected by mesothelioma. It is for families who are currently fighting, for patients who are now years out from their diagnosis to be recognized as warriors, for doctors and nurses who specialize in the disease, for advocates who are committed to serving patients with mesothelioma, and for families who have lost a loved one to find solace and comfort in each other and in the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of future patients. All are welcome with open, grateful arms and every life in attendance is touched or changed in some way by being a part of this incredible experience. And this year, for the first time, even more lives were touched as the conference was live-streamed on the Internet for those who could not make it.
I want to congratulate the staff and the board of The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation for putting on yet another exceptional symposium this year, and also thank them for the opportunity to be inspired once again by their commitment, their passion, and by all the wonderful people they bring together in honor of this noble cause. Looking forward to the next symposium, as well as the assembly in New York on September 28th of this year!
As one of the very first employees of The Mesothelioma Center, Kaylen Jackson is dedicated to working with patients and families who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis. Throughout her experience, she recognized the need for a medical branch of our advocacy services. This led her to develop our Doctor Match program as well as our Medical Outreach efforts.