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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cancer Meets Courage

In today’s world of Internet spams, unsolicited emails requesting help are met with suspicion. At least they are for me, as I have evolved into an Internet sceptic trained by The Drew, my information security specialist husband.

Last month, I received an email from a man named Cameron Von St. James, asking for my assistance in a matter close to his heart.

Was this legit? It was my automatic response, yet my gut told me yes. Experience cautioned me to Google search to fact check Cameron’s story.

Sadly, he checked out. Sadly, he was not a scam artist. Sadly, his message was one that needed to be shared with others.

Why sadly?

Heather - a true survivor.
Cameron’s wife, Heather, is a Mesothelioma Cancer survivor. Sadly, Mesothelioma invaded their happy home, their perfect family, and nearly took Heather’s life. But that is where the sadness ended for the Von St. James’ and courage took over. Courage to push despair and feelings of injustice aside and to begin a mission of education, so that other families don’t have to follow their footsteps.

The Courageous Von St. James Family
This is why they reached out to me, a stranger, to ask for help. They are building a vast network of bloggers to spread information about Mesothelioma. Their goal is to share their story, the signs, symptoms, and risks of Mesothelioma with as many people as possible.

So what is Mesothelioma Cancer?

“Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.
Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.” -

What are the Risks?

This is what shocked me. I expected that those who worked with asbestos would be at high risk, but just like second hand smoke, there is a secondary exposure to asbestos. Those workers can bring asbestos back into the home on their body or clothing if proper cleaning facilities are not available on site.

This was how Heather was infected. As a child.

What are the Warning Signs?

Although difficult to diagnose and they may not appear until 30-60 years after exposure, be sure to look for;

In 60% of patients:

·         Lower back or side pain
·         Shortness of breath

In fewer patients:

·         Difficulty swallowing
·         Persistent cough, fever, weight low or fatigue

Additional symptoms:

·         Muscle weakness,
·         Loss of sensory capability
·         Coughing up blood,
·         Facial and arm swelling
·         Hoarseness.

Read more:

How can you Help?

Spread the word. Spread this post. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, or any other way you like! Information and education is our best weapon against disease. When Heather was diagnosed at age 36, only 8 years ago, information about Mesothelioma was hard to find. Joining this campaign will help eliminate that problem.

Want to read more about Heather’s journey? 
Click here to be connected to her blog.

"I've learned in my last 8 years of this journey, that the people who are in it with you can make all the difference in the world. Having people who know and understand your emotions during your cancer journey is life changing. A whole new wold was opened to me and I don't feel so isolated and alone anymore. I urge you, if you are going through any type of issue, whether it be illness, loss, postpartum -- anything that throw you a curve ball in life -- find others who have walked your path; you will not only find help, but friendships that will last a lifetime."
- Heather Von St. James

Learn more about Mesothelioma:

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