Giving Thanks on Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2015 illustration

On September 26, people around the world come together to celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

It’s a moment for raising awareness about a disease that leaves tragedy in its path. Mesothelioma is an aggressive asbestos-related cancer that kills an average of 3,000 people every year.

So much has happened in the mesothelioma community in the past year.

From medical breakthroughs in cancer treatments and in-depth exposés on asbestos exposure to survivors living longer than ever before, it’s time to come together to celebrate the advancements, remember the lost loved ones and continue to work toward finding a cure for mesothelioma.

It is never easy dealing with mesothelioma, but there are a lot of bright spots in the community, such as researchers, physicians, caregivers and survivors, who have dedicated their lives to making a difference when it comes to mesothelioma and banning asbestos.

We are so thankful to the researchers and physicians who use their time and talents to benefit mesothelioma survivors. As for the caregivers who spend their days making life better for others — we can’t thank you enough. And to survivors who continue to fight every single day, we are absolutely amazed. You are all extraordinary.

Influential People and Mesothelioma Trailblazers Making a Difference

Advancements will never happen without the dedication of talented individuals who are passionate about making the lives of mesothelioma survivors better.

It’s these instrumental people who are raising awareness, creating new treatments, advocating in Congress and ultimately giving us hope that one day there will be a cure — and a world without mesothelioma.

We’ve gathered some of their thoughts about what Mesothelioma Awareness Day means to them.

Linda Reinstein, President/CEO, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)

 

Linda Reinstein from ADAO
Linda Reinstein

Mesothelioma Awareness Day is more than a day on our calendars. For the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), it’s a daily mantra. As asbestos victims, we endure unfathomable pain, suffering and anger as we fight preventable diseases. Since my late husband, Alan, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003, life has dramatically improved with greater treatments options, more support groups and increased hope for a cure. This month, ADAO has seen the undeniable power of social media with our Raise Your Voice/#ENDMeso campaign circling the globe. Feelings of isolation, despair and bewilderment have been replaced with hope, unity and community. ADAO urges asbestos victims to raise their voices, share their stories, and support legislation that will put an end to the asbestos manmade disaster with a ban, support for victims and a cure. Enough is enough.

Dr. Michele Carbone, Director of Thoracic Oncology, University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Dr. Michele Carbone

Dr. Michele Carbone

Mesothelioma Awareness Day helps generate the resources that are essential to finding new ways to prevent and cure mesothelioma. We have made significant progress. Now, we must build on that success in developing specific drugs for this malignancy, and finding new biomarkers that allow us to identify the disease earlier when therapy is more effective. Ongoing clinical trials have shown encouraging, preliminary results, and I expect major developments in the coming year.

Clare Cameron, Executive Director, Pacific Meso Center at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

With so little attention paid to this orphan disease, Mesothelioma Awareness Day is an opportunity for families to come together and remember those who have lost the battle, and to bring awareness to this cause. It’s why we scheduled our 4th annual 5K Walk/Hike this weekend (Sept. 27) at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. We’re anticipating more than 300 walkers who will celebrate the day while raising much-needed funds for research. Our mission is to find better treatments.

Richard D., pleural mesothelioma survivor and activist

Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor Richard D.

Richard D.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day should remind everyone to be aware of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, because if you should contract mesothelioma, the earlier you catch it, the better your chances against this evil disease. I was fortunate to catch it early and am still around more than three years later. Remember: “You may have mesothelioma, but it hasn’t got you!”

Kasie Coleman, peritoneal mesothelioma survivor and bakery owner

Peritoneal mesothelioma survivor Kasie Coleman in her Sugarbelle bakery

Kasie Coleman

So much attention is often placed on major cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. One day out of the year, the focus shifts to mesothelioma. The continuation of Mesothelioma Awareness Day is necessary to remind us there are people losing their lives to it daily. I constantly bring awareness so the research never ends, and hopefully there will come a day when no one will lose their life for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Vanessa Blanco, Patient and Family Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center

Vanessa Blanco, Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center

Vanessa Blanco

Within the past five years as a Patient Advocate, I have seen and been amazed by all of the medical advancements made in mesothelioma treatment — from the multimodal approach and the numerous surgical techniques used by mesothelioma specialists leading to longer life expectancy. Mesothelioma is a cancer that not many people are aware of, and definitely not one that gives much hope for treatment options. Most victims of asbestos still lack the emotional and financial support necessary to beat this horrible cancer, so there is a huge need for mesothelioma awareness. Mesothelioma Awareness Day allows me and others to raise awareness and support scientific progression such as clinical trials and early detection.

Melanie Ball, lost her father to mesothelioma

Melanie Ball on her dad's shoulders

Melanie Ball

Mesothelioma Awareness Day means standing behind the warriors who fight. It means adding your shouting voice to the arsenal, and telling every ear that will listen! Mesothelioma awareness means that not one more, NOT ONE MORE victim fights alone. We stand MesoWarrior strong!


Cara joined The Mesothelioma Center as Social Media Specialist in July 2015 to continue her mission of making a difference in world. Every day, Cara speaks with survivors, caregivers and their loved ones in the online mesothelioma community to answer questions and offer emotional support. If you have a story idea for Cara or you’d like to learn more about social media, please email her at ctompot@asbestos.com.

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