Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day! As part of our series on mesothelioma awareness leading up to today’s activities, we have asked survivors, family members, doctors, advocates, and others affected by mesothelioma to give us their thoughts on a variety of subjects. These have included topics such as the most important things people should know about mesothelioma, reasons why spreading awareness is important, and how we can work together to ban asbestos.
For today, we asked individuals to give us some of their favorite moments from Mesothelioma Awareness Days past, and to offer some insight about what the day means to them. In addition, we also have a special video from 10-year mesothelioma survivor Heather Von St. James.
Former teacher and mesothelioma survivor
Sharing the meso platform with my daughter-in-law, Vida Hargrett, has been especially memorable. She is the International Beautiful Pageant Director in Florida, and mesothelioma has been deemed the charity for the organization. She has reached out to the media in Ft. Lauderdale, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Orlando, and other cities to inform the public about the dangers of coming in contact with asbestos. She is the reigning Mrs. Ft. Lauderdale 2016 and she has traveled throughout the state of Florida getting the message out to the public. I was privileged to witness her media appearances on several occasions. Knowing that Vida has a passion to make others aware of what asbestos does to others, makes me very proud.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is very important. Asbestos has taken so many lives and still continues to take the lives of men and women every day. It is important that the public know the facts. This terrible materials needs to be banned. It is unfair to families. They are losing love ones because they do not know the facts or the risk. I salute all of those who are on the forefront making a difference to inform others. Hopefully, there will be a change soon!!
10-year mesothelioma survivor
I don’t know if I can single out a moment. Every year since I started getting involved has been great. Going to NYC with the Meso Foundation and being on the plaza of the Today Show with my mom was awesome, and spending the time with her, but then again, when I started doing the Miles for Meso, I felt like I’m really making a difference with raising money for the cause. To be in that crowd of 1000 runners and knowing so many people have personally been affected by meso is something I can’t explain. Almost everyone there has been in some way touched by a person with mesothelioma. So many do the race in remembrance of their loved one, and that fact that I am there, alive and well to do the race is humbling, and an honor.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a day to reflect on how far I’ve come, and a day to tell the world about this disease. So many people still don’t know or understand, so having this day as a catalyst to talk and start conversations is wonderful.
Heather has also prepared a special video message for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, available below.