I’m Ken – a good friend of Kruti’s – and she’s asked me to look after her blog over the next few days while she takes some time away from blogging and social media. We all need a break sometimes don’t we?
For many years I was a ‘neighbour’ to my dear Indian friend as I lived in Bangladesh. I returned to my native Britain at the beginning of the year and you can read more about my exploits in both countries at my own blog kenthinksaloud. Now I earn my living as a freelance writer and editor and you can see the kind of work I do at my writing blog WriteOutLoud – hey you can even hire me for editing or writing services! 😉
You’ll find out more about me later in the week but today this post is actually about someone else instead.
I’ve always loved and admired Kruti’s blog here because while she writes on many things, including her own writings, she often champions worthy causes. Many are to do with animals (Kruti’s first and truest love!) but anything that shares hope and inspires others can find a home here on 10eveningflowers.
It was so appropriate then, when an American woman named Heather Von St. James wrote to Kruti asking if she could promote her awareness page. I think this courageous lady’s story is perfect for 10eveningflowers and I’m proud to do my little bit, on Kruti’s behalf, to make others aware of what Heather has gone through.
Heather is a cancer survivor. But this is a cancer which just should not be happening. Effectively, it’s a cancer Heather ‘caught’ through her father’s work jacket while she was still a child. It wasn’t until she was 36 and had a 3 1/2 month old daughter that Heather was finally diagnosed with the cancer which had been eating away at her and she was given just 15 months to live. Only the removal of her left lung would save her life.
Despite the fact most patients die of mesothelioma within two years of diagnosis, Heather is still with us eight years on.
She has spent that time wisely and courageously spreading awareness of this completely unnecessary disease. Asbestos is the only known way of getting mesothelioma yet it isn’t banned in the US. Heather’s father worked with the stuff when she was a child and it was through wearing his jacket to play in that she inhaled the dust covering it and the damage was done. There is no excuse for this to continue on today.
Heather’s story is close to my heart as my grandfather went through much the same. After living and working as a policeman and great sportsman in India, he worked in the mills in England after 1947 and there the asbestos in those mills destroyed his lungs too. He was a kindly man who had loved sport and didn’t deserve to wheeze his way through his retired years barely able to climb stairs on what was left of his lungs. He died over 25 years ago and I still miss him dearly.
Support Heather’s page today. You can even smash a plate for ‘Lung Leavin’ Day’! Make sure you watch the short video of her life story: share this story on your own social media and be part of a movement to see asbestos a thing of the past around the world. Let’s make mesothelioma nothing but a reference in medical text books of a disease no longer in existence.