Friday, 5 June 2015

From Awareness Grows Hope - Raising Awareness of Mesothelioma Cancer

This post is a little off track for me but stick around as it may actually be interesting, I know I've learnt loads.  With 7th June being Cancer Survivor's Day I wanted to celebrate those that win out over all odds.  We have all heard about breast cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, skin cancer to name a few but what about mesothelioma cancer?

Now when Cameron & Heather Von St James contacted me I was oblivious to them and mesothelioma cancer.  I have learnt that mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and the survival rate is not good. Cancer is basically indiscriminate who it attacks and Cameron & Heather want to raise as much awareness as possible. I've even done some research thanks to the snazy internet on the screens at my gym on the treadmills.

Meet Heather Von St James
A mesothelioma cancer survivor

Just quickly, you may be wondering why I've picked up on this to help them raise awareness, well it's because I grew up in an asbestos house back in South Africa. While it was safe as there were no asbestos fibres flying around it made me sit up and pay attention. Now living in England & learning about mesothelioma cancer I've learnt that the UK government were insanely slack at instituting legislation regarding asbestos and the country now has one of the highest cases of mesothelioma cancer in the world.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Cancer in the UK

A few facts and stats on mesothelioma:    
  • Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused only by asbestos exposure.
  • Asbestos was widely used up through the 1970's in building materials.
  • Asbestos is still not banned in the US and Canada. 
  • Mesothelioma affects the lining of the organs, most commonly, the lungs.
Now the personal bit ...

  • Heather was diagnosed in 2005 three months after giving birth to their daughter, Lily .... she was just 36 years old!
  • Her cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos fibers on her dad's construction work jacket.
  • She underwent treatment that involved the removal of her left lung, which saved her life.
  • She is now a 9 year survivor, for a cancer that usually takes patients within their first year of diagnosis.
  • She now works to spread awareness of mesothelioma and asbestos.

The fact that asbestos was showing signs of being dangerous to health as early as the 1920s Asbestos History - Wiki means that none of this should ever have happened but it did. And thanks to people like Heather and Cameron a support network is growing and no one need be or even feel alone. Their strength and courage is amazing and inspirational.
Heathers Blog & where you will find links to some very useful resources

I hope that this has been interesting and informative and that should heavens forbid you ever need these resources you know there is help at hand.

Stay safe, stay healthy and love the life you are living.

The Mesothelioma Clinic
Mesothelioma UK (charity)