Celebration of Mesothelioma Awareness Day Offers Hope and Support
Today marks the 8th consecutive Mesothelioma Awareness Day, an event organized by Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) volunteers and supporters. Using media coverage and local advocacy efforts, this event strives to bring awareness to this devastating cancer which continues to be diagnosed in thousands of Americans each year and take so many lives. The nonprofit Meso Foundation explains that today, “nearly 1,000 individuals will acknowledge this day by organizing awareness and fundraising events by participating in various runs and walks, by requesting official proclamations from their local governments, and by asking their local media to cover this rarely-mentioned cancer.” According to the Meso Foundation’s executive director, Kathy Wiedemer, this even helps patients find the “relief and renewed hope” her foundation offers. The press release explains that “In addition to providing expert medical consultations and support for patients and their families to help them understand and successfully manage their mesothelioma diagnosis, the Meso Foundation is also the leading conduit and funder of the most promising, peer-reviewed, mesothelioma research.” Mesothelioma is a particularly devastating form of cancer which attacks the protective tissue linings surrounding our internal organs. This disease results from asbestos exposure and develops over a period of 20 to 50 years, giving patients a short average life expectancy of just four to 18 months, the American Cancer Society explains. The dangerous mineral, asbestos, was used extensively in the United States for most of the 20th century. This fibrous material’s strength, flexibility, and resistance to heat, fire, and chemical corrosion made it an extremely popular material in virtually all forms of construction, industry, and manufacturing. Furthermore, asbestos was inexpensive, contributing to its wide popularity and the corporate-hesitancy to find a replacement material. Unfortunately, mesothelioma remains a terminal disease. Although research breakthroughs have brought us closer to a cure, more funding is needed to continue these promising developments. Wiedemer goes on to also explain that “through the efforts of Meso Awareness Day, we want to ensure that every patient diagnosed with mesothelioma knows how to find the Meso Foundation and the help that he or she needs and deserves.” Mesothelioma Awareness Day was begun by Meso Foundation volunteers in 2004 and continues bring vital support and attention to this disease. This year’s event carries even more significance, as the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center highlights the astonishing number of first responders who have been sickened by asbestos exposure, putting them at risk for developing mesothelioma.