Because I get messages like this all the time, my first thought was to send it straight to the trash, but this one was different. For one thing, it referenced specific details about my writing, so the person had obviously taken the time to check out my blog. The message was nicely composed, used good grammar, and everything was spelled properly. I decided to click the link in the email that sent me to an information page for Heather Von St.James. What a story! I was glad I did.
Heather describes herself as the 'Self proclaimed “Poster child for hope after mesothelioma” for those suffering from asbestos disease'. In 2005, at the age of 36 and only three months after giving birth to her daughter, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). In her case it was through secondhand exposure from her dad, who worked with the material. She was given 15 months to live. Obviously, she's beaten the odds, and wants to spread the word.
She asked me to help with her quest, so I'm letting you know that September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Did you know (I didn't) that:
- Once someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma they have an average of 10 months to live.
- One in three mesothelioma patients are veterans (because so much asbestos was used in military applications)
- There's a latency period of 25-50 years between exposure to asbestos and developing the symptoms mesothelioma.
- Asbestos use is not a thing of the past-it's banned in 60 countries but not the U.S. or Canada.
- Previously-installed asbestos insulation is still in more than 700,000 buildings.