Tribute of Hope at Meso Symposium

Yesterday at the 2009 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, the theme was all about hope. The day focused on patients, caregivers, and those who had lost loved ones to mesothelioma. The symposium is presented annually by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, which is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending the sufferng caused by mesothelioma by funding mesothelioma reserach, educating patients, and advocating for funding for mesothelioma reserach.

The highlight of the events yesterday happened early in the day, but its effect reverberated for the rest of the day and into the evening’s banquet. The Tribute of Hope Ceremony was held yesterday morning. Those who had lost someone they love to this horrible asbestos-related cancer brought a photograph of their loved one and added it to a photo collage. The names of all those who had lost their battle were listed on panels lining the walls – too many panels – and grieving folks filled the space around them, lighting candles in memory of someone dear who didn’t have to die.

Although the rest of the day was filled with informative seminars about reserach, treatment, nutrition, wellness and coping, the weight of that wall could not be forgotten. Candles glowed and you couldn’t help looking over, reading the list, hating mesothelioma and wondering just WHY nobody seems to know about this lurking killer.

This is why we need more awareness.

The day ended with a Gala Celebration of Hope. Awards were presented to those who have done outstanding work in the fight against mesothelioma. From MARF, here is a list of those honored this year:
The Pioneer Award emphasizes the contributions of Dr. Robert Taub, MD PhD, whose treatment protocols and vision have shown remarkable results and have been the basis of hope for many mesothelioma patients.The Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award, named for the late Minnesota Congressman who died from mesothelioma in 2000, acknowledges the support and initiatives of Terry Lynch, International Vice President, Political & Legislative Director and Health Hazard Administrator of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.The Volunteer of the Year Award honors Craig and Shelly Kozicki for being an inspiration to the mesothelioma community through their continued dedication in raising research funds and providing support and hope to others faced with mesothelioma. Craig, who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1998, died in May of this year.
At the close of the awards presentation, a microphone was passed around the room to allow mesothelioma patients in attendance to share their stories. There were stories of victory and remission, tears and fears, laughter, and anger. A cry began to ring out as each fighter took the microphone. Turning, they would point at the looming Tribute Wall and declare, “I am not going on that wall!!!”
Tags: asbestos, mesothelioma, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Minnesota, Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma
This entry was posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 5:15 am and is filed under Events, News, Organizations, People. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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