Asbestos clinic gets surprise donation from Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation

A nationally recognized medical clinic in the small town of Libby, Montana, recently received a nice reminder that they’re not the only ones who think the work they do for patients with asbestos-related diseases is important.

The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation recently donated $10,000 to the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases.

The Center for Asbestos Related Diseases is one of a few medical facilities in the nation solely dedicated to treating people with diseases, like mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure. Most people would expect to find the treatment options CARD doctors provide in the bigger cities like New York or at a top university like the University of Pennsylvania. But in this case, the clinic went to the people. Literally.

The 10,000 people who live in Libby are 30 percent more likely to develop an asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma or lung cancer, because a vermiculite mine operated from the 1960s to the early 1990s just outside of town. This form of vermiculite, a shiny rock similar to mica, contained amphibole asbestos. The mining process broke down the asbestos, creating a fine dust, which covered, not only miners, but the entire town. I have read news stories about how it would blanket the town. Miners would come home covered in it, children would play in it, and the wives would clean it, because, back then, no one really understood its dangers. Except the mining company.

W.R. Grace Co., who owned the mine, knowingly poisoned the entire town. Studies estimate that since 1960, 88 miners have died from asbestos-related diseases and that 1 in 40 of residents in Libby and the surrounding area have died or suffered from asbestos-related diseases. Because of this, the town was designated a National Public Health Emergency by the Environmental Protection Agency, the first ever such declaration made by the agency.

Asbestos exposure, even though it might have happened decades ago, is killing people now. No one understands this better than Libby, Montana and the doctors at CARD. The Simmons Hanly Conroy is proud to know that it’s multi-million pledge to the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation is going to help the people who need it most, such as those treated at CARD.

The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation didn’t mail a check, as this news article in the town’s newspaper, The Western News, reports. Foundation Chairman John Simmons hand-delivered it while he was on vacation.

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