Few weeks ago a beautiful, inspiring and strong young lady contacted me and shared her story with me. Her name is Heather Von St. James. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma 8 years ago – a rare and preventable cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. She had just given birth to her beautiful daughter, when she was given 15 months to live. After the life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, Heather made it her mission to protect the innocent victims and spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium. The only known cause to mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. The sad fact is that asbestos is still not banned in all countries across the world.
Mesothelioma is dangerous because it commonly sits dormant in the body for 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos.
September 26th, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day and in honor of it, I want to share some facts and help spread awareness and I do believe that together we can help the victims and change the regulations related to asbestos.
- Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral that is classified as a known human carcinogen, because of its association with mesothelioma.
- On average, 30 million pounds of asbestos are still being used in the United States today. The substance can still be found in many homes, schools, and commercial or industrial buildings.
- Asbestos is used as building material in several developing countries throughout the world, including India and Brazil. Industrialized nations such as China, Russia, and Canada also continue to mine and use asbestos as material for consumer products.
- This year 10,000 Americans will die of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma and 200,000 people will be living with asbestos.
- The EPA estimates that there are asbestos containing materials in most of the nations approximately 107,000 primary and secondary schools and 733,000 public and commercial buildings.
- Between 2,500 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. On average, they are given 10 months to live.
What can you do to help? – Re-blog, share and spread the word on social media to raise awareness. One way you could do it is through Heather’s awareness page. You can also make a donation through MARF (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation) donation form. For more information, see mesothelioma.com.