Survivor to Activist: Making a Difference in the Mesothelioma Community

Stories from Survivors

If you’ve read any of my past articles, you know that I have a lot of sayings. I’ll blame my grandma for that. I call them “wisdom sayings.”

One thing I say all the time is, “Everything happens for a reason.” Sometimes we turn our focus toward why something happens instead of what it is teaching us. It’s a point to ponder.

I will admit, when I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma 14 years ago, I thought quite a bit about why I had to get cancer. What did I do? My focus soon switched and I became determined to beat it and become cancer-free. 

Someone once told me I have a way with words – the gift of gab – and a conversation almost always turns into an inspirational message. I’m a firm believer that your “gift” will make room for you. Meaning that whatever your gift is, opportunities will flow to enable you to use that gift for a purpose.

Because of my gift, being a mesothelioma cancer survivor allows me to share my journey to inspire and encourage people along the way. I enjoy being able to give someone hope when there was none before. I’m so grateful I can encourage people who need it just by sharing my testimony. Yes, testimony! My story is a testament that miracles do happen and that you can beat mesothelioma.

Reflecting on 2021

With only three months left in 2021, I’m taking time to reflect on the things I’ve accomplished over the course of the year. Let’s look at it as a self-evaluation for you to also reflect where you are compared to last year.

Throughout 2021 I was afforded the opportunity to share my story many times via this website, other publications, in support groups and on social media. I remember one time when I prayed to be known as a motivational speaker and an inspiration to others. And it’s all unfolding, even though I thought it would be because I had my own talk show. But, hey, that can still happen! 

One thing I was really proud of and shocked by was that I was nominated for several WEGO Health awards, with the first one being Rookie of the Year. Talk about a huge honor! It just goes to show that my story is reaching so many people. More and more people are becoming aware of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos

Being nominated for several awards within the WEGO Health sector just made me want to do more. It’s given me the motivation I need to create more ways to spread mesothelioma awareness within my community and online.

Collaboration Fuels Mesothelioma Outreach

Collaboration is the future, especially in raising awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure. I’ve teamed up with health care advocates as well as reputable organizations such as The Mesothelioma Center and the American Cancer Society on prevention and early detection campaigns. I’m not in this alone, and that’s a good feeling. Being able to come together for this one initiative makes it a fact that teamwork makes the dream work.

Hearing my story and witnessing that I live a thriving life as a peritoneal mesothelioma survivor opens the door of hope for current cancer patients, their caregivers and family members. It brings awareness to some who may not know what mesothelioma is, and a challenge to lawmakers who continue to allow asbestos in products today. 

It’s my goal to continue to advocate, to continue to share my story, to continue to spread awareness of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos, to continue to inspire, encourage and give hope to those I connect with. 

A world without mesothelioma is possible, right? I believe it is!

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