Friday, September 26, 2014

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Cancer is one of the scariest words out there. It can be so mysterious, and so deadly. But you know what is so crazy? That there are still preventable cancers out there! Some people take risks that they know can lead to cancer, like smoking or too much sun exposure. I'm a bit guilty of that one... with my olive skin I love being out in the sun. But now that I've given birth to a lovely baby who's as pale as her daddy, I bet that will change!

Another preventable cancer is Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. I didn't know anything about mesothelioma until recently, when survivor Heather Von St James asked me to share some information about it on this here blog. Now I know approximately four people read this (hi mom!), but after reading a little about this disease and its cause, I felt like it couldn't hurt to throw my own two cents out into the interwebs.

Heather's experience hit close to home, because she was a brand new mom when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2005. Being a new mom is the most overwhelming and challenging thing I've ever done, and I can't imagine adding a serious cancer diagnosis to the mix. It is an incredibly aggressive cancer, and most patients are given about ten months to live. Heather braved the risks of major surgery, and is cancer free nine years later. She's become an ambassador for Mesothelioma research and fundraising, spreading awareness in order to find advancement in treatment and someday a cure.

What blew me away when I read about this form of cancer is that is is caused by asbestos. I through this mineral, a naturally occurring carcinogen, was a thing of the past! I've watched enough HGTV to know it can be present in older houses, but I really didn't think it was something to worry about in our present day. Yet asbestos is still found in schools, homes, and commercial buildings, both in our country and around the world. As one point the EPA had successfully banned most asbestos-containing products, but that regulations was overturned in the early 90's. You can find more facts about asbestos and mesothelioma in these fact sheets.

The goal of this post is to raise awareness. Not fundraising or a cure (though those are obviously the big picture). For real progress to be made, people need to hear about Mesothelioma, and the harmful effects of asbestos that are still a risk today. So please feel free to pass this along; share the information with someone who might want or need to know about this. And for more information or ways to get involved, you can head on over to

You can also read more about Heather's story here:

Thanks for reading!

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