Saturday, 26 September 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness Day - Heather Von St James who lives on with the silent killer of Steve McQueen ...



Who would think this vibrant looking woman has a life-threatening disease … her story is well worth a read and will give us all a greater understanding into Asbestos Induced Diseases.



Mesothelioma is rare … but there have been a few notable patients (c/o Wiki) … Steve McQueen, the well-known actor, was diagnosed after perhaps being exposed in the US Marines, or from the insulating material in the racing suits the drivers wore.



As Heather explains so poignantly, hers came about because she loved her father and wrapped herself up in his jacket when she was a youngster and he was home.  It manifested itself over 25 years …

Asbestos Mountains as drawn by William Burchell


I hope that you will read more of her journey at Mason’s post (and all the other participants) and particularly Heather’s own.




Blogging as we all know opens our eyes to so many things – we learn so much – and this is another facet … an appreciation of others’ illnesses and the conditions they have to cope with.

 
Fibrous Tremolite Asbestos
on Muscovite

We can get inspiration and admiration from their stories and raise awareness that each and everyone of us can be kind, considerate and thoughtful to others: we don’t know what’s going on – there could be a ‘Heather Journey’.




I gasp and cry as I read of people with major illness and of their families who remain positive, and intend to live their life to fulfilment – completely and utterly …


… this has to help with the future memories – of how they and their families never let the disease stop them – and how their get and go attitude gives impetus to Awareness days and sends out threads of knowledge to more of us.
 
Heather and Cameron


I wish Heather and her family all the very best and express my admiration for them … long may she live, before her inspirationally moving legacy kicks in.



Here is Heather’s site - and there is an amazing video by Heather, her husband and daughter ... very well worth a watch.




Our UK site gives a good overview – politics intervenes – I won’t pass my comment … but I am interested in seeing the narrative.  From this site can be found links to the Australian, Canadian and South African sites – while the main .com is the American web page.

 
Cameron, Lily Rose and Heather

So please spread Awareness of Mesothelioma to all who might be interested or need to be made aware of the disease.  It is a hidden killer …



Here is Heather’s wonderful blog post that puts “TheImportance of Support” into context … I can relate to this and can definitely think of another disease that took a small life, where this post totally resonates.


Please support Heather – you know I’m not good with social media aspects – but please all of you who are ‘experts: poor or good!’ … do what you can to spread the word.


Thank you,

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

58 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I featured Heather on my blog this time last year. And was very glad to do so. My youngest brother and his wife had just been told that they had to vacate their house (which will be destroyed) because it had been insulated with loose fill asbestos. Like more than 500 other houses in my city.
I hope that Heather not only survives, but thrives.

Murees Dupé said...

Heather is a wonderful lady and an inspiration. So many old homes in South Africa still have asbestos roofs, which is definitely scary. Have a lovely weekend, Hilary.

Rhonda Albom said...

Thanks for sharing about this. Honestly, I knew nothing of Mesothelioma before this visit. I accidentally knocked out an ceiling panel at my job when I lived in California. The next day our entire department was closed, and the clean up crew wore the white safety suits.

Jo said...

I was aware of this disease as there is a fund for victims as a result of a class action suit - it is constantly being advertised on TV here. But I did not know anything about it - thank you for sharing this information with us Hilary.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Thanks Hilary. These stories make me tear up too.

bazza said...

Hi Hilary. I have a friend who is (probably) dying from asbestosis aged 60 like his sister did many years ago. They lived near a factory that manufactured asbestos nearly fifty years ago! It is a nasty disease so thank you for this informative and sensitive post.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Vallypee said...

Hilary, I've never heard of this horrible disease, but I'll find out more about it now. Yes, I agree, the wonderful support of family and friends for people who battle with these illnesses is vital, but also brings a special relationship many 'normal' families don't have. Thank you for sharing this and bringing it to our awareness.

A Cuban In London said...

This is such a beautiful post about a not-very-well-known condition. I have read about it a bit but we still need to do more to raise awareness of it. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post, I did not realise that was what Steve McQueen had died from. Heather is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing this. Take care Diane

TexWisGirl said...

i have heard of this disease on tv commercials for lawsuits and such. tragic.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - I know I've seen Heather around, but was glad this time I could help her out - to bring awareness to some more bloggers. Gosh your brother's story sounds horrendous - perhaps it's a good thing they are having to move, and the dangerous situation is being resolved.

I too hope Heather Survives and Thrives.

@ Murees - Heather is a wonderful lady and inspirational too. I know SA would have lots of homes with asbestos in them ... I hope they can be de-contaminated.

@ Rhonda - I had heard about the disease, as we have it here in the UK. But interesting about your ceiling story - it continues to happen here ... asbestos lurking behind the scenes.

@ Jo - I hadn't seen any advertising here - but have read about the disease - however I didn't know much about it - I know more now ... it's a nasty silent killer.

@ Holly - yes it's terrible to think of the way Heather obtained the disease.

@ Bazza - how lovely to see you. I'm sorry about your friends ... especially as his sister has already died young - and now he is struggling with it. It's more prevalent than we think ... and has been a hidden killer for a long time. I feel for your friend.

@ Val - I had known about it - but now certainly have learnt more and appreciate how very dangerous it is ... and how it can debilitate lives for many years.

It's interesting how disease can bring families together and that warm support can be around the sufferer. I'm glad you appreciates the post.

@ ACIL - many thanks ... and yes as you say we do need to do more to raise awareness. I like blogging as I do learn things that resonate more once I've had that input of knowledge.

@ Diane - good to see you. Steve McQueen died of a heart attack following cancer surgery, but he had peritoneal mesothelioma (stomach lining inflammation) - and it was severe ... back then they didn't want to operate on him - he tried alternative treatments - sadly to no effect.

@ Theresa - I guess these posts will put some flesh and bones to the tv adverts - as you say so tragic.

Thanks everyone - I always find it interesting to learn a few more details about the struggles of the various diseases, that we're not commonly aware of - and which at least help us understand the debilitating nature of these hidden killers.

Heather I know appreciates your comments - she was running/walking in the "Miles for Meso" yesterday during their Awareness Day. Hilary

Out on the prairie said...

A product that was inexpensive and able to do wonders for all. Sad to see it take away lives as well.

Patsy said...

My stepfather died earlier than he should have because of asbestosis, so I know a little about the problem. It's tragic that someone so young should be suffering. Hopefully this condition will become increasingly rare as awareness spreads and action is taken to stop people breathing the stuff in.

Lisa said...

What a moving post. I appreciate you sharing Heather's story with us. Wow, it has been too long since I've been to your blog! I love the "new' look!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Hilary. I know people who have died horrible deaths from this disease and the ongoing effect on their loved ones. It was good to read the stories you shared. Isn't it downright amazing that western countries are still getting rid of their asbestos products to third world countries? No morality in the world of business!

Hope you're doing well, Hilary!

Denise :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Steve - I expect it was inexpensive to mine - it was so fibrous, and it would have been cheaper to ship through its lightness .. yet as you say so deadly to those who became contaminated over time.

@ Patsy - oh gosh .. so this post does strike home - I'm sorry. Heather is so young. Sadly it takes decades to manifest itself ... so it will be a while before it stops happening - at least we are much more aware of it. Thanks for your real life addition to the story.

@ Lisa - thank you ... I hope Heather has had a lot of coverage over the weekend and the Day itself. Appreciate the 'new look' thumbs up!

@ Denise - I wasn't expecting to see so many commenters know about the disease first-hand or with close friends. I hadn't thought about asbestos disposal ... I do wonder where our waste goes to - the dangerous parts and you've highlighted another aspect of our first world life and third world countries. Thinking about it - we do have problems here too.

You're right - there is little morality in the world of business ... minerals are wonderful, so useful .... but terribly dirty in the their extraction and in their disposal as you mention.

Thanks to you all for your personal stories and acknowledgement about the disease ... also the reminder about the disposal of contaminated waste. All the best - Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for sharing this info. My brother in law's father suffered from this. It's good to raise awareness. Wishing these families courage and strength on their journey.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm glad to see more awareness of this disease in the last few years. Very inspiring to hear Heather's story! Thanks for sharing.

Elsie Amata said...

The awareness is high in my area because of the enormous military presence. My heart goes out to all of the effected families. Thanks for shedding light.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'd never heard of it until this week. That is sad it came about because she wore her father's jacket.

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, this is such a terrible disease that so few people know about. Wishing Heather continued good health and congrats on her mission of awareness about this disease.

Hart Johnson said...

Heather is definitely an inspiration. I featured her (maybe it was this time last year?)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Asbestos is a serious poison. Great to get the news out, lest we forget.

beste barki said...

I'm aware of the disease but I had no idea it could be acquired by simple acts such as wearing a contaminated jacket. Thank you for bringing it up. A very touching post Hilary.

Bish Denham said...

I have a family member battling this disease. Her positive attitude is amazing, despite the surgeries and treatments she's been through... May Heather continue in good health and love.

Chrys Fey said...

This is the second time I've seen a post about Heather. Yay! :D I never knew much about Mesothelioma, other than it's caused by Asbestos. Such a powerful disease to manifest over 25 years. Thank you for sharing this post with us, Betty. I hope Heather's good health continues.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - I'm sorry about your BIL's father suffering from this disease. It's good that we're understanding more about it ... as it can appear at any time.

@ Elizabeth - it does appear to be commented on in the media - especially in North America - here I know about it .. but not that often. Glad you appreciated Heather's story.

@ Elsie - yes perhaps because I don't live near a contaminated area ... I haven't been that aware of it ... or how very terrible it is. Thanks for adding the piece about the military presence ...

@ Diane - the blogosphere certainly spreads the word. And yes isn't just awful that that is how Heather 'caught' the disease .. just by breathing in the dust from her father's jacket.

@ Mason - thanks for your earlier post with some more facts ... but we are being made aware via our blogs. Yes - Heather's done an amazing job bringing awareness of the disease to the fore.

@ Hart - yes Heather asked me a year or two ago ... but I just didn't have the capacity to bring it in to my schedule ... might have been the FB side of it too; still this post is better than one I would have written then.

@ Teresa - asbestos is awful ... those airborne fibres - so often used in commercial buildings - we had some here in Eastbourne a few years ago.

@ Beste - I know I hadn't realised that's how you 'got' the disease ... wearing a jacket, or being near a factory, or removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while in the Marines - as happened to Steve McQueen.

Thanks everyone - Heather I know will be very moved by your thoughts for her and her family ... and we can all raise awareness now ... appreciate your support and help - Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We lost two friends to this killer. It so sad to read of another family facing the same thing.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Sad that people must get sick and die before manufacturers pay attention. Wishing the very best to Heather in her road to healing.

Sherry Ellis said...

Heather is an inspiration. It's good that you're helping raise an awareness of this!

Sherry Ellis said...

Heather is an inspiration. It's good that you're helping raise an awareness of this!

Robert Bennett said...

That's horrible. I had no idea...

cleemckenzie said...

How touching and I'm blown away by the irony of how she contacted this disease. I've read about Mesothelioma, but her story makes it very personal. Beautiful lady.

Linda said...

Very good post about a serious illness. I've been hearing about it for years on TV and on getting settlements if you or a loved one suffers or died from it. It seems there are many professions where you could contract it. Thank you for sharing this.

DMS said...

Heather is certainly an inspiration. Her positive outlook and determination to tell her story helps us all to learn. I didn't know much about this serious illness before reading this post and I know I will learn a lot more once I check out the links you shared. Thanks so much for this post and wishing Heather and her family all the best.
~Jess

dolorah said...

It is sad to see how many horrible diseases plague humanity. Some of our own making with products and inventions. I hope all goes well for Heather.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - it does seem to have touched more families than I'd have thought - as it's a 'rare' disease. Yes - it must be very difficult for all concerned.

@ Joylene - I expect asbestos was 'the cure all' ... and people just didn't realise the long term effects. I too hope they have a good life together.

@ Sherry - thanks - Heather is an inspiration ... and yes it was good to learn more about this very nasty outcome.

@ Robert - good to see you and thank you for your succinct, but appropriate, comment.

@ Lee - yes ... we just don't know do we. We love our father's and to think this could have happened from his jacket. I'm glad I've brought the disease to life sharing Heather's story.

@ Linda - thanks very much. I hadn't realised there was so much going on in the Americas re the tv ads etc - but as Lee mentions - here we can understand a little more through Heather's case.

@ Jess - thanks you've pointed out many of Heather's attributes ... so I'm glad my post appears to have highlighted those and that you're interested enough to check in on the links ... they do inspire.

@ Donna - yes we aren't invincible ... and there are so many 'things' we can catch or acquire ... so sad. Many of our own making and invention ... but as we try and push forward we just don't know or understand at the time.

Thank you so much everyone for being here and realising how very difficult this disease is for those who suffer from it - Heather and her family certainly live with a bright light in their way of life ... and along the way make sure we all are determined and positive along our own paths.

Appreciate all the thoughts expressed through the comments - Hilary

Gattina said...

I had never heard of this disease ! When I think that I have worked in asbestos covered offices for years ! and even the ceilings in some houses were out of asbestos. Poor Heather really had no luck !

Lynn said...

It is wonderful that blogging brings us together and makes us more aware of things like this illness - which I had never heard of.

Paula Kaye said...

Thanks for all of this much needed advice and pointing awareness in a positive direction!!

Nick Wilford said...

I didn't know about this disease, or the more insidious ways that asbestos can be harmful. Thanks for bringing this touching story to our attention.

loverofwords said...

Trying to get back to blogging little by little. Meso is such a deadly disease, I do remember that Steve McQueen died from it. Thank you for reminding us that there are still health battles to be won from things that were designed to protect us and make our lives better. Insulation, who knew?

Nilanjana Bose said...

So tragic that such a widely used material could have such devastating impact.

Wishing the families of all affected patience and courage.

Best always
Nila.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - if the asbestos isn't exposed or fraying ... you and most of us office workers are safe. It's when we breathe in the fibres and dust ... and so sad for Heather.

@ Lynn - yes Lynn - we do learn so much more being around blogging friends - it always surprises me.

@ Paula - thanks re the positiveness ... it helps us all in times of troubles.

@ Nick - we do get it here ... as Patsy noted, but I suppose it's not on tv as much as the States. I knew about it - but the details and effects I hadn't taken in.

@ Nat - welcome back .. it's lovely to see you back in the blogging fraternity again. Just so sad for all those who have the disease ... it really is so hidden - I think now decades later the medics are more aware. I know the insulation to protect us ... when it breaks down, or before if it's being made up, does over time leave a really devastating mark on a life.

@ Nila - yes it is so sad and that devastating impact must be very challenging to remain positive throughout.

Thanks to you all - I know we all wish Heather and her family everything of the very best for the future years: they will have many happy times to remember. So good to see everyone here - thank you - Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

What an important post! Such a horrible disease. Thanks for shedding light about it.

mail4rosey said...

I don't feature a lot of people either, but I did her. I'm glad to see she's still working hard to get the word out!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you for sharing this, Hilary. It's always good to be aware of the "silent" diseases, the ones people don't see in others as we walk past them on the street.

Loved your post about Canterbury!

Deborah Weber said...

Such a poignant and important story - thank you for sharing this Hilary.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Asbestos has its positive uses, but its deadly side is horrific. It's hard to believe that at one time, in an attempt to make cigarettes less harmful, their filters were made out of asbestos. Makes ya wonder what chemicals commonly used today will turn out to have an equally sinister side.

Cheers! Thanks for shining some light on this disease.

Christine Rains said...

I had Heather on my blog last year. She's an incredible woman, an inspiration. :)

Crystal Collier said...

=( I think sometimes we are called to suffer through difficulty to prove our character. Sometimes it's to bless others by our example. She must be one of those.

David P. King said...

Thank you for raising awareness. I was not aware until now. :)

M Pax said...

Her courage is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing her story.

KAT Writer said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to Heather and her family. Thank you for shedding light on something I knew next to nothing about.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa - so glad you took on board the seriousness of the disease ... I'm glad I featured Heather.

@ Rosey - She'd asked me a while ago - but I wasn't in the mode to help at that stage ... this time I felt I should

@ Deniz - yes, as you say it's good to be reminded of the silent killers - that we don't see or don't understand if we don't come into contact with people, who've caught it ...

I'm happy you enjoyed the Canterbury post.

@ Deborah - yes it is poignant isn't it and I'm happy to share

@ Susan - gosh I hadn't realised the cigarette filters were made out of asbestos ... how terrible. I do wonder about the chemicals we are exposed to - especially after the recent diesel challenges - I'm quite I live out of London.

I was surprised to learn so much about the disease .. and through Heather's website ... it's really unpleasant and must be very difficult to live with.

@ Christine - I've seen Heather around .. but I needed my headspace in gear to have her on my site - I'm glad to say it came out this time - she is an incredible woman ... with 'a great "go"' in her ... she is an inspiration.

@ Crystal - yes you're right in so many respects ... that we are called to suffer through difficulty - but this is one disease that is beyond that slot ... it sounds so so appalling - I feel for her (now I know more).

We do learn from example and there have been some amazingly inspiring people who have set very big examples for us all to admire and follow: there families continue on and remind us what can be achieved, despite the illness.

@ David - I'm glad the post has brought the disease to people's attention - thanks for your comment.

@ Kat - yes I hope we all remember ... and I'm glad you were able to learn about the disease here ... something really sad.

Thanks everyone .. sorry it's taken me a few days to get here ... Heather will be pleased: she had so many commenters ... I appreciate you all coming by. Cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary - then I missed you - so sorreeeee.

You are right her courage is inspiring ... I hope we can all spread the word for her - I've learnt some more about it and how silent and deadly it must be.

Thanks - cheers Hilary

Ana coelho said...

Thank you Hilary for making us aware of this awful disease.
My heart goes to Heather and her family....

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Ana - the more of us who know about this disease the better - and we can help support others. Heather is certainly inspiring ... good to see you - cheers Hilary