Mesothelioma Awareness Day was created to support those struggling with this rare cancer. Veterans make up about one-third of all mesothelioma victims, so they are a central part of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. From wearing blue to joining a digital event, there are many ways to celebrate veterans on Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2020.
Mesothelioma Awareness and Veterans
The first Mesothelioma Awareness Day took place on September 26th, 2004, by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating mesothelioma.
Since then, every September 26th has been a day to show support for veterans and others with mesothelioma by spreading awareness about this deadly disease and raising funds for cancer research.
Veterans make up roughly 33% of mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States, and Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a wonderful opportunity to honor these brave men and women during and after their cancer fight.
For 2020, Mesothelioma Awareness Day has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by turning many in-person gatherings into digital ones. Find ways to show your support safely this year below.
1. Spread Mesothelioma Awareness
The first thing you can do to honor veterans with mesothelioma on Mesothelioma Awareness Day is simply to get the word out about this life-threatening cancer.
You can spread awareness by:
- Sharing information: Share a short video or infographic about mesothelioma and how it disproportionately affects veterans. You can also note that asbestos exposure is directly tied to mesothelioma.
- Sharing a loved one’s story: Sensitively discussing the story of a veteran with mesothelioma is a personal and heartfelt way to reach others in your community. A great place to share your story is through social media or through a mesothelioma organization.
- Contacting a local news station: Contact those who can reach more people than you can, and ask them to talk about Mesothelioma Awareness Day. If a news outlet wants to interview you, see if this can take place over the phone or via the computer.
2. Donate or Organize a Mesothelioma Fundraiser
The Meso Foundation, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), and other groups are in need of funding to support mesothelioma research, provide financial aid to those fighting cancer, and advocate for federal bans on asbestos use.
Today, you can donate to these groups via their websites. For example, you can make a donation in your own name or create a tribute page in honor of a loved one on the Meso Foundation site.
You can also create an online fundraising event, such as a virtual auction, with the proceeds going to these groups.
3. Wear the Mesothelioma Awareness Color
The official color of Mesothelioma Awareness Day is blue, and wearing it is a simple way to show support for mesothelioma victims. To increase awareness, take a picture of yourself wearing blue and post it on social media.
You can also support the Meso Foundation’s fundraising efforts by purchasing blue T-shirts, facemasks, or pins from its official site.
4. Help Ban Asbestos
Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma. The military used asbestos heavily in all of its branches since manufacturers hid the dangers for decades.
Although asbestos use has decreased dramatically in the United States since the 1980s, this toxic material has not been banned. Mesothelioma Awareness Day is the perfect time to alert others to this fact and help eliminate the use of asbestos by contacting your state elected officials.
5. Safely Spend Time With Loved Ones
One of the most impactful things you can do to support veterans on any day is to spend quality time with them.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has limited in-person gatherings, there are still ways you can safely connect. For example, you can give them a phone or video call, send a care basket, or make a card with friends and family.
Some video conferencing apps like Zoom support large group gatherings as well, allowing entire families to unite digitally. This can greatly help boost morale.
If a veteran passed away due to mesothelioma, you can make a donation in their honor or simply share stories of them with other loved ones. If their grave is close by, you may be able to visit it as long as social distance rules are strictly followed.
Celebrate Veterans This Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is about spreading awareness and, hopefully, finding a cure for mesothelioma — but it is also about honoring loved ones with mesothelioma, whether they have passed away or are still with us.
If you know a veteran with mesothelioma, take the time this Mesothelioma Awareness Day to show your love, support, and appreciation. Even as the coronavirus has changed many aspects of our lives, it cannot take away the brave sacrifices all veterans made.