Simmons Hanly Conroy Co-Sponsors International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma

The Firm, a Mesothelioma Law Firm, is Co-Sponsoring an International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma 2009

No single event better symbolizes the integrity and power of the mesothelioma community than the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. This year, the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma (co-sponsored by the Simmons firm) is in Washington, DC from June 25-27.  The three-day mesothelioma awareness event, held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, will feature a different theme for each day: advocacy, renewing the spirit, and treatment.

The symposium attracts leading international mesothelioma experts, mesothelioma patients, caregivers, loved ones and advocates.  It is organized annually by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) with the aim of highlighting the latest advances in mesothelioma research and treatment for patients and caregivers.  The conference also creates and sustains a community that fosters support to patients and loved ones while encouraging advocacy and volunteer opportunities in the quest to find a cure for mesothelioma.

“The symposium is an important time of activism, community and education for people that have been affected by mesothelioma,” says John Simmons, the Simmons firm founding partner.  “And we are honored to be involved both financially and personally with all the solidarity and empowerment that stems from those three days.  The Simmons firm has always embraced advocacy and outreach as fundamental to our mission.”

The Simmons firm’s extensive history of contributing time, money and resources toward charitable efforts to find a cure for mesothelioma is well documented.  Most notably, in 2008 the firm established the The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University.  This community-based patient care, research, education and outreach program was anchored by a $10.2 million donation comprised of annual gifts and a multi-year pledge by the Simmons firm partners to help fund the development.

Also in 2008, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) recognized the Simmons firm with the John C. McAndrews Award, an award that honors members of the legal profession who have shown extraordinary commitment to providing free legal services to the poor. Among the Simmons firm’s pro bono work for which the award was granted:

  • Representing more than 100 St. Louis-area homeless military veterans
  • Securing more than $13 million in compensation for workers who contracted cancer via thorium exposure during nuclear-weapons work in Madison, Illinois
  • Collaborating closely with local judges to guarantee that downstate Illinois soldiers returning from Iraq would have access to legal services as needed
  • Arranging veterans-advocacy training in conjunction with the Madison County Bar Association for the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC) at the John Marshall Law School

As recently as May, the firm sponsored the creation of an application on Facebook for a charitable cause of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.  The application reached more than 18,000 people and raised $22,641 for mesothelioma research in the name of a 4-year-old Colorado mesothelioma victim.

Highlights of the symposium’s three days are:

Day One: Advocacy

Meetings will be held with the offices of a local House representative and two senators.  Attendees will travel to Capitol Hill to urge federal leaders to commit funding to medical research and to ban asbestos.

Day Two: Renewing the Spirit

A tribute ceremony will be held for bereaved family members.  Separate break-out groups will be led by professionals focusing on the differing needs of patients, caregivers and those who have lost a loved one.  Topics include counseling in social security, bereavement, acupuncture, guided imagery and journaling. Participants can also interact in a roundtable on mesothelioma topics, including nutrition, genetics, pain management, radiology and oncology.  Day two will culminate in the Celebration of Hope gala dinner, where patients will be honored alongside the recipients of three major awards.

Day Three: Treatment

Mesothelioma medical experts will discuss the latest strategies in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma and address questions to empower legal advocates and others who work closely with mesothelioma patients.  The experts include the symposium co-chairs, Nicholas Vogelzang, M.D., Director of the Nevada Cancer Institute and Raffit Hassan, M.D., Investigator and Section Chief at the National Cancer Institute.