September is my favorite month. The days are cooler, the air has that crisp, fall scent to it and all my flowers give me one last bloom before it gets too cold. I live in Minnesota, so it’s also our last nice month before the cooler weather happens.
September is also a month full of mesothelioma awareness and fundraising activities all across the country! You can get involved with the mesothelioma community in many different ways, including showing your support for Mesothelioma Awareness Day. There are also plenty of in-person and virtual events to choose from.
How I Honor Mesothelioma Awareness Day
In years past, I would spend weekends in September traveling around the country attending different fundraising events. I would do such things as stand outside of the Today show in NYC at the crack of dawn to be seen on national TV, kayak down the Hudson River with 200 or so other people, participate in 5k walk/runs and even enter a few golf tournaments.
All of these events lead up to the grand finale of the month: Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26th. Mesothelioma Awareness Day was established in 2004 by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation community members. It has been a driving force behind bringing awareness and badly needed funds to fighting this rare cancer.
The Pandemic in 2020 brought travel and many fundraisers to a halt, but September 26th is still commemorated across the country. This year, many fundraisers and events are back. You can find out if there is one in your area and go show your support!
Getting September 26th Officially Proclaimed Mesothelioma Awareness Day
In 2021, I decided to do something to bring awareness: by having Mesothelioma Awareness Day officially proclaimed in my home state of Minnesota. This is a very easy process if you would like to do it in your own city, county or state.
Getting a proclamation is an easy and official way to bring more awareness to this disease. I found out, sadly, that my city doesn’t do proclamations for cancer awareness days. So, I went right to the state level.
Many other members of the community have done both city and county proclamations in addition to state. Official wording for the proclamation can be found on the Mesothelioma Foundation’s website. Copy and paste the verbiage to the application and you should receive your proclamation in a few weeks.
Getting a Proclamation in Your State
- Search for “how to obtain a proclamation” in your state. The search results will show you various potential application pages.
- For Minnesota, there was a page on the state website where I filled in some information.
- Many states need time to process and approve proclamations. In general, this is between 90 days to 6 months before the proclaimed day.
- Make sure to plan accordingly for your state. Start in June or July and you should be approved.
- While it may be too late this year, you can plan ahead for next year!
Turning the World Blue
Another way we can bring awareness is by turning the world blue on the 26th! I wear my Mesothelioma Foundation t-shirt and have even dyed my hair blue for the week. Many members of the community have also taken it upon themselves to have landmark lights across the country turned blue for the evening of September 26th.
In Minneapolis, we have the 35W Bridge that is lit for different occasions. I was able to have it lit blue that day, along with four other places around the Twin Cities. An official list can be found here. Go out and snap a few pictures to share!
The Importance of Mesothelioma Awareness Day
As a mesothelioma survivor, it makes my heart happy seeing participation in this day grow from a handful of people meeting in NYC to so many people come together across the country to commemorate the day. At the same time, it serves as a reminder that this cancer is incredibly rare. About 3,000 people per year are diagnosed, and for many it’s too late to do much more than comfort care.
Awareness is the first step and raising badly needed funds for research is the next. I’m glad I can lend my voice and talents to both bringing awareness and raising money for mesothelioma. If you would like more information on anything I have written about, don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you organize an awareness event or fundraiser in your area.
I hope you find a way to observe Mesothelioma Awareness Day and take a moment to remember the many who have fought or are currently fighting this insidious cancer. There can never be too much awareness. This is the one day where we all come together to make our voices heard.