For those of us dealing with mesothelioma every day – treatment, pain management, compensation claims, and more – it’s easy to forget that mesothelioma is still relatively rare. Around 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year– compared to more than 300,000 new cases of breast cancer and almost 225,000 new lung cancer diagnoses. Mesothelioma Awareness Day is an opportunity to raise the profile of this deadly disease among the general public. It may also be an opportunity to help prevent future cases.
Here are just a few of the ways you might choose to take action on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, September 26, 2016.
Mesothelioma Awareness Saves Lives
In the early years of the 20th century, industry had almost no idea about the toxicity of asbestos. But by the 1930s and 1940s, as more and more workers were reporting lung diseases after working around asbestos, mesothelioma awareness began to rise. Still the corporations denied and concealed the link between asbestos and mesothelioma. This led to decades more of unfettered asbestos use by industry – and countless more lives lost to mesothelioma as a result.
For the past 40 years, as mesothelioma awareness has spread, reduced use of asbestos and new regulations for asbestos abatement have spared some workers from needless asbestos exposure. There are still unscrupulous developers and construction companies that leave workers unprotected as they remodel buildings built using materials containing asbestos. The more people who are aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, the more workers and crew bosses will feel empowered to speak up for safe asbestos abatement practices.
What you can do: Tell your story. September 26 is a great day to raise mesothelioma awareness by sharing how and where you were exposed to asbestos and your journey to mesothelioma awareness. You might want to share a day in the life of a mesothelioma patient (that’s you), to put a human face on this terrible cancer. You can tell your story on Facebook, a blog, or other online media, or attend a Mesothelioma Awareness Day rally or event and speak out, if you are able.
Mesothelioma Awareness Builds Community
One of the key benefits of more mesothelioma awareness is building a larger the number of educated advocates aligned against asbestos usage. Every family dealing with mesothelioma doesn’t have to be a tiny flame flickering in the dark. Together, we can shine a strong light on the causes of and treatments for mesothelioma.
By gathering together on September 26, mesothelioma patients and families make connections and build their mutual support networks. Mesothelioma awareness events are a great chance to put a face to a name or start to get to know the other families in your area dealing with mesothelioma.
A Mesothelioma Awareness Day gathering doesn’t have to be in person. Virtual gatherings on social media or online platforms can be powerful opportunities for connection and collective strength. Online gatherings may be helpful for mesothelioma patients who aren’t able to attend a physical event.
What you can do: Attend a mesothelioma awareness event in your area. If you aren’t able to get out to an event (or there isn’t one near you), find an online platform where you can gather with others on Mesothelioma Awareness Day. If you have the energy, you could even start your own event on Facebook or elsewhere. You can be the seed from which greater mesothelioma awareness grows.
The Gift of Mesothelioma Awareness
There are a number of nonprofits that work all year round to help mesothelioma patients get the best possible care, to raise funds to find a cure for mesothelioma, and to raise mesothelioma awareness. September 26 would be a great day to make a donation to one or more of these charities. Let them know that you support the work they do every day.
If you’re not sure where to give, you can look for expert guidance from Kazan Law, which sponsors Mesothelioma Circle. The Kazan McClain Partners Foundation has been raising funds and donating to organizations that work to fight mesothelioma for more than 20 years. Their list of recipients is a good place to find groups that are doing great work for the mesothelioma community.
What you can do: Your donation, no matter how small or large, makes a difference. Even if you are only able to give $5 or $10 to a group that is working to raise mesothelioma awareness, you will know that your contribution makes a difference.
Mesothelioma Awareness Within
Sometimes a personal remembrance or a quiet day of reflection is more meaningful than a public event. Mesothelioma Awareness Day could be a time to light a candle for a loved one who has passed away, to spend time in nature, or to take some time out of the busy hustle of daily life to sit quietly and catch your breath.
What you can do: Plant a seedling, sit in a park and soak up the fresh air and the sounds of the children in the playground, spend time with a good friend you haven’t seen in a while, write in your journal, call a loved one who lives far away. Or just turn off all the electronic devices for a while and sit in quiet reflection.
Mesothelioma awareness is something that each of us in the mesothelioma community, including those of us who contribute to Mesothelioma Circle, carries every day of the year. On September 26, we take some time to acknowledge this. Whether you want to raise your voice and speak out about the dangers of asbestos exposure that still exist in our built environment, demand more funding for mesothelioma research, or take a moment of silence to reflect on what mesothelioma awareness means to you, know that you are not alone.
On this day, more than others, you are part of a larger group that cares very much about mesothelioma awareness. Together, we will win the battle against this deadly cancer and against the negligent corporations that have exposed so many people to asbestos for the past century.