The sister of a long-term survivor navigates emotional and spiritual changes on the path toward acceptance

When she first learned her sister Jill was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, Missy Roberts was overcome with emotion. She remembers the next few days as an endless cycle of shock, anger, and grief.

“When someone you love is informed that they have only a year to live, everything changes,” reveals Missy, whose sister Jill Litton has been defying her doctor’s prediction since 2009.

“How you look at them, how you value the time you get to spend with them, how you cherish hearing their voice and laughter. Suddenly every detail seems heightened and precious.

Learn how Missy and Jill’s sisterly bond helped them each cope with life after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Transforming Pain Into Strength

As the initial shock wore off, Missy was moved by how Jill, even when reeling from the side effects of mesothelioma treatment, became the backbone of their family’s resilience.

“There have been numerous times when she supported us and saved us from falling apart when she was the one suffering from cancer and fighting for her life.”
– Missy Roberts, sister of a 15+ year mesothelioma survivor

While it might seem strange that Jill was the one comforting others and not the other way around, Missy says this wasn’t unusual for her.

“Jill has always been positive, brave, and faithful. She comforts me when I am overtaken by fear and when I lose hope.”

Missy says she feels the most hopeful when her sister’s imaging scans show that she’s still cancer-free.

Get our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide to read about other patients and families who found the support they needed to keep fighting.

A United Front of Faith

Witnessing Jill’s display of strength, especially while caring for her two granddaughters, has helped Missy find peace during the turmoil.

Influenced by Jill’s unwavering faith, Missy believes that God is helping her family fight this battle. She also recognizes that this emotional journey has ultimately led her closer to God through the power of prayer.

“Pray, pray, and pray some more. Even when you lose all hope, keep praying.”
– Missy Roberts, sister of a 15+ year mesothelioma survivor

Jill and Missy’s experiences align with decades of scientific research that have shown a link between spirituality and physical health.

For example, a 2022 Harvard University study found that people diagnosed with serious illnesses who regularly participate in spiritual activities and events have a more favorable prognosis (health outlook).

Unbreakable Bonds, Sisterly Love

Missy has selflessly offered her time and attention to help her sister over these last 15+ years. This includes joining her for multiple doctor’s appointments and providing thousands of hours of childcare for Jill’s grandchildren while they were living with her.

In fact, when Jill was on bed rest for a month after mesothelioma surgery, Missy took care of her great-niece, finding comfort in knowing that her sister’s responsibilities were lightened, even temporarily.

“I would do it a million more times for her,” says Missy. “It might not be easy, but I would do anything to help my sister through this.”

Drawing on this personal experience, Missy offers guidance to other families impacted by mesothelioma, stressing the power of being present and fighting alongside their loved ones.

“When you have a loved one fighting for their life, I promise you that you will find yourself standing right beside them, fighting just as hard.”
– Missy Roberts, sister of a 15+ year mesothelioma survivor

Find Hope and Healing After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Finding your way after a mesothelioma diagnosis can be daunting, but your fight is our fight, and together we can help you face this cancer with courage and hope.

Mesothelioma Hope is here to provide personalized guidance wherever you are in your journey, ensuring you have access to the latest treatments, financial assistance, and supportive care.

Call us at (866) 608-8933 now to reach one of our Patient Advocates, or get our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide shipped overnight for more advice and inspiration.


Mesothelioma Survivors Guide
Get Your Free Survivors Guide
  • Survivors who beat the odds
  • Tips for fighting mesothelioma
  • Navigating life after treatment

Get It Shipped Overnight

Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
  1. Balboni, T. A., et al. (2022). Spirituality in Serious Illness and Health. JAMA, 328(2), 184–197. Retrieved May 9, 2024, from

Get Your Free 2024 Mesothelioma Guide

  • Symptoms & staging
  • Average prognosis
  • Life-extending treatments
Get Your Free Guide Now
Mesothelioma guide