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Dying To Be Heard On Mesothelioma Awareness Day

September 26th, 2013 |
Awareness & Education

by HVSJ12 | Survivor: Mesothelioma    Connect


Everyone affected by mesothelioma is dying to have their voice heard by asbestos companies, medical research organizations, potential victims, and those who are unaware of the disease. Let's help them by giving our voice to Mesothelioma today, September 26th - Mesothelioma Awareness day.

Dying to be heard is a statement that perfectly illustrates what is happening to mesothelioma's innocent victims. Each year, 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer as a direct result of coming into contact with a lethal substance that is still used worldwide. Of those diagnosed, it is estimated that only 10% will live to celebrate 5 years of survival as a result of a disease that is completely preventable. Most only live a mere 10 months past diagnosis and, during those 10 arduous months, they are dying to have their voices heard—by asbestos companies, medical research organizations, potential victims, and those who are unaware of the disease.

Sadly, the majority of those informed about mesothelioma are those that have already been diagnosed. Daytime television commercials remain the extent of most people's knowledge about mesothelioma. What people don't realize is that this disease is so much more than just a commercial. It is painful, devastating, and it affects real people -mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons are getting sick from asbestos exposure.

I never even worked with asbestos.

I may not fit the traditional mold of a mesothelioma victim, as I never even worked with asbestos. Instead, I was exposed unknowingly secondhand through my father's work clothes. Unfortunately, I'm just one of many who got sick this way. Once inhaled, asbestos remains latent within your system for an extended period of time (20-30, sometimes even up to 50 years) and then strikes without warning. I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in my prime- I was just 36 years old and had just given birth to my daughter, Lily.

Despite my grim prognosis, I was given glimmer of hope by my surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker and an extremely risky surgery called extrapleural pneumonectomy. Dr. Sugarbaker said he would do everything he could to save my life and he did. Now 7 and a half yaers later as a mesothelioma survivor, I'm on a mission to bring hope and awareness to this disease.

Let's talk about Mestohelioma.

A few years ago, a new tradition started with hopes of national recognition. Brave mesothelioma warriors from all over the country came to New York City for Mesothelioma Awareness Day to spread the word, wearing matching shirts, holding signs, and sparked the conversation about mesothelioma. It was this foundation that lead the charge for a day of awareness- today, September 26, Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

This year, I am taking it a step further and bringing Mesothelioma Awareness Day online, through my Dying To Be Heard Campaign. What I'm asking is simple, I only ask for voices. My campaign simply asks people to donate their social status and give their voice to the victims of mesothelioma. By creating conversation about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, we can work together to help ban asbestos completely, hold asbestos companies responsible for the lives lost, and, most importantly, honor those who have had their voices silenced by this horrible disease.

Until we increase knowledge of mesothelioma, the risks of asbestos exposure, and where to go for help, more victims will lose this very same battle I fought. It all starts with awareness- the beginning of a movement starts with one voice and with the masses joining. It is then that our voices will be heard. So today, please give your voice to the victims— simply "In honor of #MesoAwarenessDay, I'm giving my voice to the victims."

Together, we WILL be heard.

Are you a Mesothelioma fighter, survivor or supporter? Share your journey in the comments below

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(Images courtesy of I Had Cancer)

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HVSJ12   
10 year survivor of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers as a young girl. Heather works with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation to raise funds and awareness around mesothelioma research and asbestos issues.

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