Many veterans have given their lives in service to their country — and hundreds more veterans have succumbed to the deadly cancer mesothelioma after service-related asbestos exposure. Learn how you can honor the legacy of veterans close to you, even after their passing, this Memorial Day.
Honoring Veterans Who Died from Mesothelioma on Memorial Day
Memorial Day, held on the last Monday in May each year, is an important holiday for celebrating and honoring veterans who have passed away.
While numerous veterans lost their lives while serving, some gave their lives decades later due to service-related diseases such as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that can develop years after exposure to asbestos. Veterans are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma as the U.S. military used asbestos heavily until the early 1980s. Today, about 30% of all mesothelioma patients are U.S. veterans.
Those who died while in the line of duty — or who developed a deadly illness like mesothelioma from their military service — deserve to be honored this Memorial Day.
Below, learn more about the different ways you can honor fallen veterans.
Ways to Honor Veterans on Memorial Day
Families of fallen veterans can:
- Visit the veteran’s resting place and decorate it with American flags or flowers.
Memorial Day is often marked by decorating gravesites. You and your family may want to make plans to visit a veteran’s resting place. It’ll be worth the trip — even if you don’t live close by.
- Host a party in the veteran’s memory.
A party is a great way to share memories of a veteran that you love. You could host an in-person event or, if too many loved ones live far away, suggest an online gathering over Zoom or another digital platform.
- Make a donation to organizations that help veterans with mesothelioma.
One example is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, an organization that helps patients and their families find top doctors and funds research to find a cure.
Additionally, organizations like the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars help veterans with mesothelioma fight for their hard-earned benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Resources for Veterans With Mesothelioma
Veterans with mesothelioma can seek benefits through the VA. The VA understands that many veterans develop mesothelioma from service-related asbestos exposure and goes to great lengths to make sure that those veterans are taken care of.
Veterans who have developed mesothelioma may be entitled to VA benefits to cover their medical or living expenses and free health care.
VA Benefits for Veterans With Mesothelioma
Financial VA benefits include the following:
- Disability Compensation: Monthly payments for disabled benefits
- Burial and Funeral Benefits: Pays for a portion of the funeral if the veteran has passed away
- Pensions: Monthly payments to veterans and their spouses
These benefits can provide peace of mind to a veteran and their family, especially if they are facing a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Veterans can also access medical treatments through the VA Health Care System.
VA Health Care for Mesothelioma
The VA Health Care System helps veterans with mesothelioma to get treatment from some of the best mesothelioma specialists and surgeons in the country, at low or no cost. There are currently two notable mesothelioma doctors that work with the VA to treat veterans.
These VA mesothelioma doctors include:
- Dr. Avi Lebenthal: Treats veterans with mesothelioma at the Boston VA Health Care System
- Dr. Robert Cameron: Treats veterans with mesothelioma at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by any of the doctors listed above. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact these doctors directly.
Veterans may also be able to receive care from local doctors through the MISSION Act. The MISSION Act makes it easier for veterans who qualify for VA health care to access medical care closer to their homes. This can be helpful for veterans who are no longer able to travel.
Families of veterans can also donate to VA medical centers to support their care services.
Remembering Mesothelioma Veterans on Memorial Day
It’s important to honor the sacrifices of our military members on Memorial Day — whether they died in the line of duty or from a service-related disease like mesothelioma.
By honoring their memory, you ensure that their sacrifices weren’t in vain and that their memory will continue to live on.
Make this Memorial Day special, and show your appreciation for veterans that passed away in service to our great nation.