With Hope, the Odds Don’t Matter: Heather's Story

Imagine that you are 36 years old with a newborn daughter, only three months old, and being told that you have just 15 months to live.  That is what happened to Heather Von St. James. 

 Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, caused by asbestos exposure.  Heather and her husband, Cameron, are bringing awareness to mesothelioma and Heather’s story, so that they can prevent another family from going through the core-shaking ordeal that they have been through.

Since mesothelioma is such a rare disease, there are about 3,000 people diagnosed with it in the U.S. per year, the research on it has been limited.  There is no cure for mesothelioma but there are treatment options for it, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.  

While the disease is more common in men, there are cases of it in women and children.  Heather was exposed to asbestos as a little girl.  Her dad worked in construction and would come home covered in dry wall plaster.  Heather liked to wear her dad’s coat out in the yard.  Little did they know that the dust on his coat was loaded with asbestos fibers.

I was surprised to learn that asbestos is still not banned in the U.S. and about 30 million pounds of it is still used each year!  I always thought that asbestos was used primarily in construction materials, but did you know that it was also used in house hold items like ironing board covers, hair dryers, crock pots and popcorn poppers?  What’s scary is that some of these things are probably still floating around out there.  Here is a link to all of the products that asbestos was used in.

Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are only given 15 months to live.  Heather has beaten the odds and survived it for eight years.  Cameron kept Heather’s hope alive by telling her that their daughter, Lily, needed her mother.  Heather was determined to survive her mesothelioma diagnosis and she’s strived to fight her disease with an optimistic attitude.  Heather’s message is one of hope and she wants to encourage others with mesothelioma to hold on to hope.
September 26th is mesothelioma awareness day.  You can go here learn more about mesothelioma, and you can go here to watch Heather’s courageous story.  You can follow Heather on Face Book and Twitter.  You can also help Heather and Cameron spread their message of hope about mesothelioma by sharing links to their story on your social media sites.

Thanks for spreading the word about Heather's story and mesothelioma.  And, as always, thanks for taking the time to read today!

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