Dying to be Heard

Dying to be Heard is a statement that perfectly illustrates what is happening to mesothelioma victims.

Each year, 3,000 new people are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. Of those 3,000 victims, only a small percentage will live to celebrate 5 years of survival. Most 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 don’t know about this disease. Mesothelioma is a completely preventable disease, yet asbestos is still not banned in the US.

This year, September 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. To help raise awareness, I’m asking you to donate your social status for mesothelioma victims. By getting the conversation going 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.

I may not fit the traditional mold of a mesothelioma victim. I never worked with asbestos, but instead was exposed unknowingly through my father’s work clothes. I’m just one of many who got sick this way. I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005, just 3 1/2 months after the birth of my only baby Lily.

7 1/2 years ago, 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 as a survivor, I’ve spent these last few years on a mission to bring hope and awareness to this disease, but I can’t do it on my own.

Until more people know about mesothelioma, the risks of asbestos exposure, and where to go for help, more victims will lose the battle. Until we make people aware that mesothelioma is more than a commercial on TV, and that real people-- mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons-- are getting sick from asbestos exposure.

The beginning of a movement starts with one voice and with the masses joining. It is then that our voices will be heard. So on September 26, 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.