Asbestos-related diseases have taken the lives of thousands of fathers and grandfathers. This Father’s Day, Simmons Hanly Conroy wants to honor the legacy of those who left loving families behind and wish strength to those who are still fighting this terrible, preventable disease.
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by asbestos. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim. Treatment options cost a tremendous amount, both physically and financially, and many patients live less than a few months after diagnosis.
The shock and sadness are impossible to imagine. For a father, personal fears quickly give way to real questions: what will my family do?
“You feel alone when you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, especially when you’re young like myself,” said Mike Mattmuller, who was 29 when he received the terrible news. Mike’s battle with mesothelioma is remarkable, and he has dedicated his life to making America free of asbestos. An asbestos-free world is what he believes his young daughter deserves.
Getting Resources to Support Families Fractured by Mesothelioma
Mike’s story underscores two important aspects in the greater fight among those in the asbestos-prevention community. One, Mike was able to use our legal help to secure the resources that have been so vital in funding his treatments. There are trust funds for mesothelioma survivors, and they can be instrumental in helping families.
The second aspect of Mike’s account is troubling, but it is a truth America needs to reckon with: people of all ages are at risk from asbestos
exposure. Yes, the average person is older when they find out that they have mesothelioma, but that’s because there are typically decades between asbestos exposure and signs of the disease.
Right now, that means there are tens of thousands of people who have already been exposed to asbestos. Fortunately, there are awareness events held by families and friends around the country that work to educate people about what they can do to protect themselves. Once example is a 5K race organized by one Ohio family devastated by mesothelioma.
Running for Mesothelioma Research
Bruce A. Waite taught high school English for 30 years. An avid runner even into retirement, Bruce began to have trouble breathing in 2002. Eventually, doctors told Bruce and his family that he had mesothelioma.
Bruce’s physical health, something on which he’d always prided himself, was suddenly swept out from underneath him. As a result, his family’s life was turned completely upside down. Bruce, his wife, Nancy, and his daughter, Jill, turned to Simmons Hanly Conroy for support. The firm knew the disease, they knew the laws, and they knew who was responsible for making Bruce sick.
“Simmons fought for us and beside us during the darkest time in our lives,” said Jill. “They brought hope to my dad who found peace in the knowledge that after he left us, Mom and I would not truly be alone.”
With the firm’s help, Bruce was able to secure a measure of stability for his family amid the pain and uncertainty of his world-altering mesothelioma diagnosis. Although Bruce passed in 2003, the family’s partnership with Simmons Hanly Conroy has grown into an annual event: the Bruce A. Waite Miles for Meso 5K Race in Ontario, Ohio. In the words of Jill:
“Years have passed since Dad died, and yet the staff at Simmons continues to be family through all the support they offered when this broken daughter decided to honor her father, and others, by raising money for mesothelioma research with Miles for Meso.”
In 2019, there will be three Miles for Meso events in the United States. Over the years, these events have raised more than $650,000 for mesothelioma research. More than money, though, the event is a way for the families of those taken by mesothelioma to honor their legacy and to support those who are still fighting.
Asbestos Is Everyone’s Fight — We Need to Ban It Now
At the time Bruce was diagnosed, there was not a lot of information about mesothelioma available. Linda Reinstein, whose husband Alan was diagnosed in 2003, recalled having nowhere to turn for guidance after her life was devastated. Wishing no one else to suffer from the isolation she felt, Linda set out on a quest to unite people affected by asbestos.
Her inspiring story led to the formation of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest advocacy group dedicated to asbestos prevention. Now, when someone finds out they have mesothelioma, a simple online search will connect them with them with the answers they so desperately need.
Much like Bruce, Alan was a husband and father, much loved and needlessly taken. Linda and her daughter Emily have worked tirelessly to honor his life by preventing more deaths from asbestos. This year, they saw the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 introduced in both Houses of Congress.
The ban prevents more asbestos from coming into America and deals with the millions of tons that are already here. It’s not just a bill with a tremendous goal at its center — it’s the only way forward for our society. Learn more about the ban and sign the ADAO petition today.
By signing the petition, people will be supporting fathers and grandfathers everywhere who are still fighting terrible diseases because of their needless exposure to asbestos. This Father’s Day let’s also keep our pledge to those who left loving families behind. All it takes is your signature – a small gesture – to let tens of thousands of grieving families know you are on their side.