As this year’s Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) comes to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect on a cornerstone of the asbestos-disease awareness and prevention efforts and our ongoing commitment to eliminating the toll asbestos takes on society: Advocacy.
At the heart of GAAW is a desire to fight—for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, our country and our world. The fight for a better, safer world is why President and CEO Linda Reinstein co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). It’s why Chairman John Simmons started Simmons Hanly Conroy in 1999. It’s why unified advocacy efforts like GAAW are so vital.
Advocacy can mean many different things to different people, but it always starts with a desire from within the human heart. When it comes to asbestos-disease prevention, mesothelioma patients can start with small things, like advocating for themselves in the doctor’s office.
Registered nurse Amy Fair, who has worked with mesothelioma patients for decades, says:
“The best advice I would give someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is to educate yourself. It’s important to ask your doctor how many patients they have treated. [Simmons Hanly Conroy] has developed relationships with top specialists, so it’s something we can help navigate through—finding the best doctor to treat their disease.”
Advocacy starts with taking a stand. It means first understanding your rights as a patient and then taking the first step toward lifting the burdens of an asbestos-related disease diagnosis by enlisting the help of a leading national law firm.
Becoming an Advocate in the Courtroom
Simmons Hanly Conroy was founded on the principle of providing equal access to the justice system for all, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Chairman John Simmons believed a higher level of legal service could be built by helping asbestos victims through a combination of legal expertise and service-minded values.
Today, led by a management team who shares that vision, the firm has become a national leader for asbestos victims in the courtroom and a top supporter of the mesothelioma community and medical institutions working toward a mesothelioma cure.
To become an advocate for yourself and others, it’s important to find help in the right places. Simmons Hanly Conroy has been fighting for justice for mesothelioma patients for more than two decades. On a human level, our firm understands the toll that asbestos-related disease can take on unsuspecting patients and their families. For newly diagnosed patients, registered nurse Amy Fair offers her advice:
“I would say to someone who is considering Simmons Hanly Conroy that if you don’t want to be treated as a case, and you want all your needs and feelings addressed in a personal nature, hands down Simmons Hanly Conroy, because everyone in this firm from the mailroom…to the attorneys is invested in this disease and helping folks navigate through this.”
As a firm dedicated to the patients we work with, we understand where patients are coming from. Many mesothelioma victims are former military personnel. Veterans of the U.S. military often have conflicting feelings about filing a lawsuit. They do not wish to sue the government or the branch of the military in which they served.
Our firm does not sue the federal government or the U.S. military. Rather, when a veteran files a mesothelioma lawsuit, the claim is made against the companies that sold the U.S. military asbestos-containing products. Just like the general public, the military was also misled by the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
We understand these concerns very well and have seen them in a number of our clients. In the words of Dennis, a retired mechanic and client who recently passed away from mesothelioma:
“They made it very personal for me in a good way. There was a team of people. I just know it wasn’t just a one-person job. It very much put my mind at ease throughout the entire case. It was actually better than I thought or expected. Everything was taken care of pretty much at my house or on the telephone.”
When an asbestos-related disease patient and/or their family teams up with Simmons Hanly Conroy to file a lawsuit, they can rest assured knowing they have enlisted their biggest courtroom advocate.
For survivors and their families, our firm becomes a member of your team—fighting for you, your rights, and a world free of asbestos and the painful, needless diseases that accompany it.
Advocating for an Asbestos Ban
It’s a common myth that asbestos is already banned in the United States. While asbestos is banned in nearly 70 countries, it remains legal in America to this day. So long as asbestos remains legal, it will continue to wage war against citizens, killing up to 40,000 Americans each year.
ADAO, Simmons Hanly Conroy and other advocates in the asbestos-disease prevention community share one over-arching goal: to secure a ban on asbestos. To achieve that goal, advocates must come together, build community, and use their knowledge, experience and stories to spread awareness.
Mike Mattmuller and Julie Gundlach are just two of many mesothelioma warriors who have stepped forward to share their powerful stories in the hope of both bringing awareness to mesothelioma and building momentum toward a ban in the United States.
Asbestos is not just a problem of the past—or even the present. If we do nothing, it will assuredly be a problem of the future for many more years to come.
You can help. By participating in GAAW, you are engaging in the process of advocacy. By sharing videos, blogposts and other asbestos-disease prevention content with your own communities, you are amplifying the voices of so many who have been needlessly harmed or killed by asbestos.
Stay up to date, follow developments and share your story by using the hashtag #2020GAAW.