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Famous Mesothelioma Deaths: Steve McQueen


McQueen’s History of Asbestos Exposure

Steve McQueen was the top paid actor in 1974. He was also a father and a husband with great love for his family. Best known for his acting in movies such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Sand Pebbles, he also identified as a race car driver. Almost 34 years after his death on Nov. 7, 1980, cases of mesothelioma still run rampant.

asbestos exposure

Steve was exposed to asbestos all throughout his life—construction sites, sound stages, the lining of race car breaks, and so on. His most potent exposure to asbestos, though, occurred in his time with the U.S. Marines when he was required to remove asbestos lagging from pipes. Steve himself is quoted saying that the asbestos was so thick in the air he could barely breathe. Some say that Steve McQueen lived the American dream, transcending underprivileged origins and rising to fame and success. But, it was during his time doing blue collar work and serving his country when he was most subjected to the asbestos that would kill him.

The Mesothelioma Diagnosis & Death

When Steve was diagnosed in 1979 he was given no hope. He was assured by doctors that his ailment was incurable and essentially untreatable. In fact, his then-girlfriend Barbara Minty was not even informed by doctors that pleural mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos.

“The doctors in LA basically told us to enjoy the time we had left,” she said in an interview conducted 26 years after Steve passed. “I don’t remember exactly what they said about options. All I recall is that the doctors said surgery was out of the question and chemo didn’t really work. It was a rare cancer and all their patients had died.”

The couple refused to let the diagnosis rule their lives, though, and was married after his terminal diagnosis. In the months following, Steve went to Mexico. Motivated by his lack of options in the United States, he sought non-traditional treatment during his first visit and went into surgery for inoperable abdominal tumors during his second visit. It was in the hours after this surgery that he passed away from cardiac arrest.

The true tragedy of Steve’s story and every other story of mesothelioma deaths is that their deaths were preventable. The dangers of asbestos exposure were known as early as the 1930s, yet companies continued using asbestos-containing products without any warnings at the cost of thousands of lives.

Sadly, even today, approximately 3,000 people in the United States are annually diagnosed with mesothelioma. Many of whom were never warned about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Barbara Minty McQueen, in memory of Steve, works with the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a non-profit organization focused on preventing asbestos-caused diseases through national and international education, advocacy and community initiatives. In July 2014, Barbara traveled to Washington, D.C., and spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of banning the use of asbestos in America.

Families who have been impacted by mesothelioma deaths can also hold the companies responsible for their loved one’s asbestos exposure accountable through the civil litigation system by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Simmons Hanly Conroy has over 40 mesothelioma lawyers who have helped thousands of people and their families from around the country secure justice against the companies who harmed them.

If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, click here to learn more about how we can help mesothelioma patients and their families.

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Thirty Percent of All Mesothelioma Cases are Veterans


When mesothelioma patients turn to Simmons Hanly Conroy for the justice they deserve, many of them are U.S. veterans. In fact, more than 30 percent of Americans who are afflicted with mesothelioma were first exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. Veterans from all military branches – Navy and Army to the Air Force and Marines – often came into contact with asbestos-containing materials.

flagUp until the mid-1970s, nearly every ship and shipyard built by the United States Navy was constructed with asbestos materials. It was primarily used in engine rooms, boiler rooms and other below-deck areas of seagoing vessels and submarines. The asbestos was most dangerous when it was disturbed and made airborne, at which time it could be inhaled. This put Navy members at great risk due to the poor ventilation in below-deck areas. Because of the latency period of mesothelioma of in excess of 20 years, many of today’s Navy and Marine Corps veterans are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Other military service members also came into contact with asbestos. Many of them handled, worked with or disturbed asbestos-containing materials and, as a result, were exposed to asbestos. Those affected include military construction personnel, boiler tenders, and demolition specialists who served prior to the mid-1990s. More than 300 asbestos products were used in the U.S. military.

Currently, there are more than 20 million living U.S. veterans. It stands to reason that mesothelioma will claim the lives of many more of the brave men and women who have served. While we specifically recognize these individuals on Veterans Day, we remember them every day for their service and dedication to our country and for the price many of them are now paying because of that service.

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos may now be facing a disease with no cure. The mesothelioma lawyers of Simmons Hanly Conroy stand behind all U.S. veterans and are dedicated to helping them get the justice they deserve.

Simmons Hanly Conroy attorneys who have served, including myself, John Simmons, Mike Stewart and Brian Cooke , understand the importance of Veterans Day and taking the time to recognize the sacrifices made by our military. Don’t forget to thank the veterans in your life, and, from all of us here at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Happy Veterans Day.

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Join the ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team


Not everyone who supports mesothelioma awareness may be able to attend Miles for Meso on Sept. 27. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) provides a solution to this with its ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team.

Although this is the race’s sixth year raising money for mesothelioma research and support organizations, this is the Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team’s first year. This virtual team allows those who cannot participate in the 6th Annual Miles for Meso to register a name that will be featured on other runners.

This means that mesothelioma survivors, victims, or their loved ones can submit their names and join the cause in spirit. The runners featuring the names of the ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team will pose for a picture following the race, allowing the virtual runners to see their presence in the race.

The deadline to submit a name to the Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team is Monday, Sept. 22.Miles for Meso

The race begins at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 27 in Alton, Ill. Simmons Hanly Conroy, as a national sponsor of Miles for Meso and host of the Alton race, plays a major role in the advocacy, education, and community initiatives of the event. The race is part of Simmons Hanly Conroy’s ongoing effort to spread awareness of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in recognition of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

The race also features a 2k fun run for those who are not avid runners but still wish to participate. Aside from the actual race, Miles for Meso offers a variety of activities that runners and non-runners alike can enjoy. At this year’s event you will find: a dog adoption event, live music, free food, a kids’ only game zone, and face painting. All runners will receive complimentary Miles for Meso T-shirts and the top five women and men runners will each be awarded cash prizes.

To learn more about ADAO’s virtual team and how you can participate, visit the ADAO website. To learn more about registering for the Alton Miles for Meso 5K race, visit www.milesformeso.org/register.

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Participate in Mesothelioma Awareness Day This Year


Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which takes place on Sept. 26, is fast approaching. If you’re thinking about getting involved this year, now is the time.

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness and research funds for mesothelioma. It first began in 2004 when it was created by a group of Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation volunteers. In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution designating Sept. 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Every year since then, participation in the awareness day has grown larger and more widespread.

The day is especially important to friends, family and caregivers of mesothelioma patients – as well as mesothelioma victims and survivors themselves. To participate in Mesothelioma Awareness Day this year, choose one of the below options:

  • Organize a fundraising event. Hold the event on Sept. 26 to raise funds for mesothelioma research. Examples of real fundraising events include Miles for Meso and other 5K runs and walks, Kayaking 4 Meso, Muffins for Meso, Bruce A. Waite 5K Miles for Meso and many more.
  • Attend an event. Even if you’re not hosting an event yourself, attending someone else’s fundraiser is a great way to participate and contribute to Meso Awareness Day. View the upcoming community events  to see if there is one happening near you.
  • Contact your local media. Let your local newspapers, radios and TV stations know about Meso Awareness Day so they can do a story on you, your family or your event and help spread awareness about the serious disease.
  • Make Meso Awareness Day official in your city and state. You can request your city or your state to recognize Meso Awareness Day by contacting the proper officials. The Meso Foundation has step-by-step instructions for how to do this here.
  • Attend a mesothelioma conference. The Meso Foundation is holding two conferences in 2014 for interested participants. Its Regional Conference will take place in Philadelphia, PA on Sept. 26, and a second Regional Conference will take place in Chicago on Oct. 10.
  • Go to the Rockefeller Plaza during the Today Show on Sept. 26. The Meso Foundation will be on the Today Show on Sept. 26 promoting the awareness day, and you could be among the crowd showing its support by holding signs and wearing Meso Awareness Day t-shirts.

If you know you want to contribute to Meso Awareness Day this year, why not participate in our Miles for Meso race? Our annual Alton race will take place the day after Meso Awareness Day, Sept. 27. Find out how you can get involved here.

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Financial Aid Expanded for Traveling Meso Patients


New Program Expands Financial Assistance for Travel Expenses of Mesothelioma Patients

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has increased the opportunities for travel expense reimbursement. Their Travel Grant program will now provide financial assistance for mesothelioma patients participating in clinical trials that require long distance visits. Formerly, expenses were only covered for those traveling to an initial consultation with specialists. The Meso Foundation began accepting applications for clinical trial traveling in late June.

Patients seeking mesothelioma treatment from clinical trials can receive up to $1,000 in grant money. This grant can be put towards transportation, food and lodging during the trip.

Unfortunately, because mesothelioma is such a rare cancer, it can be hard for patients to find physicians who specialize in treating mesothelioma near their homes. As a result, it is common for patients to travel in order to receive care. After the initial visit, though, specialists can often collaborate with local doctors to administer treatment without any further trips.

The Travel Grant program helps to take some of the burden off of mesothelioma patients who are dealing with this difficult diagnosis. To qualify, patients must be in one of the three following situations:

  1. Patient is traveling to an expert mesothelioma caregiver or consult. Repeat visits are not covered.
  2. Patient has relapsed after treatment from a specialist and is traveling to seek new treatment options.
  3. Patient is enrolled in a clinical trial that requires traveling. Because clinical trials involve multiple visits, the program may cover future visits as long as they are each filed as individual applications.

Those applying must also demonstrate financial need showing they require traveling expense assistance.

Thinking about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit? Learn about the cost to file from the asbestos attorneys at Simmons Hanly Conroy today.

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