Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Hiya loves,

Today is the 10th Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I'm writing about it because a lady called Heather contacted me to help me raise awareness. I agreed because one of my ex-colleagues lost his father very suddenly to mesothelioma so I know how it destroys lives.

My name is Heather Von St. James and I am reaching out to you in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare and preventable cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. I had just given birth to my daughter and I was given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of my left lung, I have made it my life's mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.

September 26th, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and has been the driving force behind the movement to bring more attention and funding to this cancer. There is no more innocent victim than a person with mesothelioma, they are sick as a direct result of a product that is NOT banned in the U.S. This disease has a life expectancy of just 18 months after diagnosis, and symptoms may not be evident until 20-35 years after initial exposure to asbestos. 

From Wiki: Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart),[2] or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, or were exposed to airborne asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma.

I was hoping to get together with my friend to talk to him about his father's life and death but circumstances didn't allow. Perhaps if we do so at a later date I can do a follow up post with his story.

Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals[1] which all have in common their thin fibrous crystals. They are commonly known by their colors, as "blue asbestos", "brown asbestos", "white asbestos", and so on. Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, but did not start large-scale until the end of the 19th century when manufacturers and builders used asbestos because of its desirable physical properties:[1] sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation.

In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials. Due to the amount of time it takes for mesothelioma to make itself known it's likely that there are many victims who haven't yet been diagnosed.

You can read more about Heather's story here.

Thanks for reading. Has mesothelioma affected your family?

Leah xoxo

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