The 16th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day will take place on September 26, 2019. This national event brings more attention to mesothelioma patients and survivors. Whether you’re a survivor, loved one, widow/widower, or friend, there are many ways you can show your support for those with mesothelioma this year.
Show Your Support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2019 will soon be upon us. Taking place on September 26 each year in the United States, Mesothelioma Awareness Day serves as a way to spread the word about mesothelioma and also raise funds to find a cure for the cancer.
Anyone affected by mesothelioma — victims, families, loved ones, or friends — can show their support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day by participating in a number of activities, ranging from charity runs and other events to local activism.
What is Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was established by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) in 2004.
This nonprofit charity raises funding for mesothelioma research, highlights survivors, and organizes activities.
By celebrating Mesothelioma Awareness Day each year, the foundation hopes to bring national attention to this rare cancer.
By bringing more attention to mesothelioma, everyone benefits:
- Families affected can be brought closer together and honor loved ones
- People diagnosed with mesothelioma can feel less alone
- Those at risk can learn more about the disease
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer with only one known cause: exposure to asbestos.
Here are some important facts about mesothelioma:
- It can take 20-50 years for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure
- It is rare — only 3,000 people are diagnosed annually
- Most people are not diagnosed until the cancer has spread
- There is no cure, but treatments can extend a patient’s lifespan
- Veterans and blue-collar workers have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma
Asbestos was widely used by both the military and private industries until the early 1980s. By that point, the risks of asbestos had reached national attention.
Sadly, the companies that made and sold asbestos products knew about the dangers for years but hid them to make a profit. Workers had no idea their lives would be put at risk decades after they were exposed.
How Can I Show My Support?
From participating in a community event to spending time with a loved one, there are many ways you can show your support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day this year.
Showing your support can:
- Connect you with other people affected by mesothelioma
- Honor those affected through activities that also spread awareness
- Help people with mesothelioma feel like they aren’t alone
Supporting Loved Ones with Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is one of the best times to show someone with mesothelioma you care about them.
Here are some ways you can support a loved one with mesothelioma:
- Make a point to engage with them. See if they are able-bodied enough to participate in a favorite activity. If they aren’t, just stopping in for a visit could be the highlight of their day.
- If you can’t visit the person, check in with them through a phone call. Video conference apps like FaceTime also allow for face-to-face interactions even if you can’t physically be there.
If the person you’re celebrating has died, think of a way to honor their memory. You could host a party in their honor, reminisce with others who knew them, or make a donation to a mesothelioma charity.
Blue is the official color for Mesothelioma Awareness Day. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation encourages everyone to wear blue to show support for those battling this rare cancer.
People can send in pictures of themselves wearing blue attire to the foundation. These photos may be showcased on the foundation’s social media profiles. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation also has blue shirts and pins available for purchase on its official website.
Attend an Activity
There are many mesothelioma-related activities that take place all around the country, and most raise funds to find a cure.
Notable mesothelioma related activities include:
- Charity runs/walks
- Golf tournaments
- Music events
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has a calendar of mesothelioma-related events for 2019.
Because mesothelioma is such a rare disease, there may not be an activity near you on Mesothelioma Awareness Day. However, even if there is not an event in your area, you can still attend one on another date to show your support.
You could also plan and organize your own event to bring more awareness to your community.
Advocate for an Asbestos Ban
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a great time to start thinking about how you can make an asbestos-related difference in your community.
As of 2019, asbestos is still not banned in the United States. As long as asbestos is still used, people may be at risk of mesothelioma in the future.
Here’s how you can spread the word about the dangers of asbestos:
- Encourage local stores to stop selling asbestos-based products
- Warn people about the dangers of asbestos products
- Damaged, older asbestos materials introduce a higher risk of mesothelioma
- Note that asbestos products need to be removed by professionals
- Vehicles, homes, or building materials made before the 1970s may still contain asbestos
You can also lobby your local representatives to change laws surrounding asbestos use. Find laws in your area that allow for asbestos use, or new laws that may make it easier for people to use asbestos products, and challenge them through a protest.
Get a Mesothelioma Proclamation
Another way to get your local government involved in Mesothelioma Awareness Day is through a mesothelioma proclamation.
With a proclamation, September 26 can be noted as Mesothelioma Awareness Day in your community or state. This can help spread the word about the disease to both policymakers and the general public.
You can submit a proclamation by meeting with representatives and explaining the significance of the disease. As of 2019, 12 states permanently celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day thanks to these proclamations.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation provides tips on how to obtain a proclamation and work with government representatives on its website.
Spread the Word Through Social Media
Outside of your community, you can show your support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day through social media.
Digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become bonding places for those with mesothelioma, especially because the disease is so rare.
These platforms allow people to share their stories and connect with each other — even if no one in their local communities is battling mesothelioma.
Sharing your story can empower other families affected by mesothelioma though you may never meet them in real life.
Stand United: Show Support for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma Awareness Day offers patients, families, and friends the chance to honor those currently fighting the disease and those who have lost their battle. It also allows people to raise funds to find a cure for this horrible cancer.
The bottom line is that nobody who worked with asbestos products knew they were being put at risk of serious illness — except for greedy asbestos companies, who endangered their workers to make a profit.
As a result, thousands continue to be diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
Until a cure is found — and until asbestos has been permanently banned — mesothelioma will pose a threat to human health. That’s why spreading the word and supporting those affected on Mesothelioma Awareness Day is crucial to making real change.