On September 26, 2022, communities across the country will join together to celebrate the 18th annual National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which is dedicated to bringing attention to this rare asbestos-caused cancer and raising funds for medical treatments.

The event coincides with the annual Miles for Meso 5K Run and 3K Fun Run & Walk, organized and hosted by Simmons Hanly Conroy since 2009. The race — which will take place both in-person and virtually this year on September 24 — raises funds for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).

Over the years, the law firm has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for mesothelioma research and support services.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Origins and Purpose

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day was started by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation in 2004. The nonprofit organization — comprising patients, doctors, researchers and advocates — strives to eradicate mesothelioma and the use of asbestos worldwide.

The foundation equips mesothelioma patients and their families with educational resources, provides details on the most current treatment options and connects them with mesothelioma doctors who are familiar with their unique medical needs.

Why Raising Awareness Matters

According to the American Cancer Society, about 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Patients usually notice symptoms of this rare disease between 10 and 50 years after having been exposed to asbestos.

By the time symptoms usually appear and the patient gets diagnosed, the cancer has reached an advanced stage. As a result, a mesothelioma diagnosis is often unexpected and overwhelming. Furthermore, mesothelioma continues to have a high mortality rate among patients — even though treatment options like surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are available.

Given the nature and context of the disease, raising awareness about mesothelioma is essential to  help individuals and families get the support they need after a diagnosis.

Living With Mesothelioma: Survivor Stories

In some instances, mesothelioma patients are able to beat the odds given by their doctors. And with the right treatments and medications, they can continue living for several years longer than they thought they would. Donations to reputable research foundations that focus on mesothelioma help make these treatment options possible for thousands of people.

Get to know Julie Gundlach and Ginger Horton, two mesothelioma survivors whose stories help provide hope to countless families worldwide.

Julie Gundlach

At 35 years old, Julie had no idea that her August 2006 doctor’s appointment for digestive issues would lead to a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis on the operating table just two weeks later.

Julie had never worked around asbestos, but her father was an electrician who came home covered in asbestos-contaminated dust. Julie’s daily childhood interactions with her dad — who died from asbestos-related lung cancer in 2005 — contributed to her illness.

Although her doctor initially warned her that she had just a year left to live at best, Julie’s regular treatments at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland have helped her continue her fight and serve as a beacon of hope to others for 16 years.

“There [are] a few things I tell people when they’ve been newly diagnosed and they don’t know where to turn,” Julie shares. “One: You need to see a mesothelioma specialist. Your local doctor or oncologist has most likely never seen a case like yours and you need to find one who treats your cancer. Two: Find a good attorney.”

After her diagnosis, Julie turned to mesothelioma lawyers with Simmons Hanly Conroy to secure the compensation she would need in order to afford her life-saving medical treatments.

“The [Simmons Hanly Conroy attorneys] have been incredibly helpful and supportive to me, far above and beyond any expectations anybody could have of legal representatives,” Julie says.

Ginger Horton

Ginger Horton received her mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010 at the age of 40, when she had recently learned of her husband’s brain tumor diagnosis.

Each fighting a different physical and emotional battle — and unable to work due to their health conditions — they began struggling with financial hardship. But even in the midst of these heavy challenges, the former preschool director, teacher and nanny did not allow her disease to take over her life.

As a 12-year mesothelioma survivor, Ginger currently partners with the Meso Foundation and helps lead a prayer group for mesothelioma survivors and their families.

Get Involved in Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2022

Those who wish to get involved on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2022 are encouraged to:

  • Wear blue clothes:
    • Take photos of yourself, your friends, family and colleagues wearing blue, the official color of Mesothelioma Awareness Day
    • Share these photos via your social media accounts to raise awareness using the hashtag #curemeso
  • Register for the Miles for Meso 5K Race and 3K Fun Run/Walk
  • Share social media posts from the ADAO and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
  • Update your Facebook profile picture with Miles for Meso’s frame
  • Contact your local government representatives to receive a Mesothelioma Awareness Day proclamation
    • Review the Mesothelioma Foundation’s how-to guide for additional details
  • Contact your local news media outlets and request a story to be run on Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Visit the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s website for more great ideas on meaningful ways to get involved.

14th Annual Miles for Meso

This year, hundreds of survivors, family members and advocates participated in person and virtually in the Miles for Meso 5K Run and 3K Fun Run & Walk.

As a national mesothelioma law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy is honored to have started the Miles for Meso race and to be the national presenting sponsor to this day.

For the ninth year in a row, proceeds from the race were allocated toward the ADAO. Since the first race in 2009, Miles for Meso has generated over $850,000 to charitable organizations associated with mesothelioma-related causes.

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