Saturday, March 28, 2015

One woman's cancer fight - #Asbestos Awareness Week, April 1st - 7th

As a little girl, Heather Von St. James loved wearing the jacket that her daddy wore to his construction job. It didn't matter to her if it was covered in dust, but - unfortunately - that dust became very important years later. On November 21, 2005, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. That dust was asbestos. It has been used for thousands of years as insulation material and has caused cancer in many people in the past 50 years.

Every year 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma and given about 10 months to live; Heather was given 15 months. A mesothelioma diagnosis is commonly classified as three different types: pleural mesothelioma like Heather had occurs in the lining of the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity and pericardial mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the heart.


Heather found out she had mesothelioma in 2005, a few months after a very happy event. “My symptoms were mild,” Heather shared. “I had just given birth to my daughter three and a half months before and the doctor had mentioned my anemia at that time.  It didn't seem like a big deal in the long run but I guess what should have been more alarming was that I had only gained three pounds during my pregnancy with Lily. Hindsight is always 20/20. I increasingly began to get sicker and sicker and lost a lot more weight, which began to set off alarms for my doctors.

That was just the beginning of her fight. Now, Heather is a nine-year survivor who has made it her mission to help other mesothelioma victims around the world, and to spread the word about this disease so no one else has to endure what she went through.

To bring attention and much needed support to this disease the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is raising awareness from April 1st to the 7th during Asbestos Awareness Week. They also want the public to be aware there are still possible asbestos sources lingering in homes, schools and commercial buildings. 

For more details about Heather and her fight click http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/#.VRbeivnF9qU. And for victims of asbestos diseases looking to explore their legal options click http://www.mesotheliomalawyercenter.org/mesothelioma-lawsuit-asbestos-litigation/.