Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day (M.A.D.)A few weeks ago, I was contacted by an American woman that reads my blog. Heather Von St James, age 46, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma ten years ago. She was given only 15 months to live.
Heather's reached out to ask if I can help her raise awareness about this rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, resulting in 43,000 deaths around the world per annum.
We know today how dangerous exposure to asbestos is. It is banned in 60 countries. Tragically, it is not yet banned worldwide, and unbelievably, it is not yet banned in the U.S. or Canada.
By telling her story and sharing her pain, Heather hopes to share her purpose, which is basically to help save lives.
At age 36, shortly after giving birth to her daughter Lily, Heather Von St.James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. A cancer caused by asbestos exposure. She was given 15 months to live. Heather discovered she had been exposed to asbestos as a child, through simply wearing her father's coat when he had come home from work. Of course, she and her parents had no idea at the time of the ramifications this would have many years down the line. Certainly not that Heather would be told to go home and get her affairs in order after just having had a baby. Bleak diagnosis or not, Heather was determined to beat her cancer and underwent an extremely risky surgery to have her left lung removed in February, 2006. Her story of recovery is remarkable.
Heather has been cancer-free for almost 10 years. She told me, she cannot express how it feels knowing she beat a battle that so many others do not. She counts herself incredibly blessed to have seen some of the most brilliant doctors, and to be surrounded by a supportive and loving family. Inspirationally, Heather is a voice for the victims of this entirely preventable disease, raising awareness and showing that with hope, the odds do not matter. Mesothelioma Awareness Day.If you would like to know more about Mesothelioma, you can read Heather's story in full and visit her brilliant blog here. Meanwhile, please help her spread the word, and stop the spread of Mesothelioma. Do share this post and tweet too: @MesoAwarenessDay @CancerAlliance. Thank you.