Each year on November 11, Veterans Day allows us to celebrate and honor U.S. veterans. Whether they were involved in combat or helped protect America from behind the scenes, all veterans deserve our gratitude.
Even after their time of service comes to an end, some veterans continue fighting battles upon returning home, including mental health conditions, physical disabilities, and severe illnesses such as mesothelioma.
U.S. Veterans and Mesothelioma
U.S. veterans are at a high risk of mesothelioma since the military used asbestos, the only known cause of this cancer, for decades.
Asbestos-based products were highly durable, so the military used them in ships, bases, buildings, and vehicles from the 1930s to the early 1980s. During this time, manufacturers of asbestos-based products hid the dangers from the public.
When working with asbestos-containing materials, fibers could be released into the air, where service members could have breathed them in or swallowed them.
By the time the U.S. military became aware of the dangers of asbestos and stopped using the mineral, millions of veterans had already been put at risk of mesothelioma.
Today, veterans make up approximately 33% of all mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma typically takes between 10 and 50 years to develop. In many cases, by the time veterans notice their symptoms, the disease has likely progressed, and mesothelioma treatment options have become limited. And while mesothelioma can be treated, it has no cure.
4 Ways You Can Celebrate Veterans Day 2023
There are many meaningful ways your family can honor all veterans and help those impacted by devastating illnesses like mesothelioma. Read more to find out how you can celebrate.
1. Connect With Veterans
Whether by giving them a call or visiting them in person, connecting to a veteran with mesothelioma on Veterans Day can lift their spirits.
This can help them feel less lonely as they manage treatment and remind them that there are people who love them and remember the sacrifices they made.
Making a Veterans Day donation is another great way to show your support.
For Veterans Day this year, consider donating to:
- Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation: The Meso Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for mesothelioma. You can make a general donation or one specifically in honor of a loved one who is sick or has died.
- Veterans Affairs Hospitals: The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allows donors to choose which hospital or health care clinic receives their donation. Several VA hospitals specifically treat veterans with mesothelioma.
You can discuss with your family to decide which organization(s) you would like to donate to this year.
3. Create Care Packages
You can order care packages for veterans or military personnel currently serving. These care packages can help veterans and service members know they are still remembered.
Organizations like Operation Gratitude deliver care packages to veterans and active-duty personnel all over the world.
Through Operation Gratitude, you can:
- Mail a package to a specific service member currently deployed
- Ship a premade care package to an anonymous veteran or service member
- Volunteer to make gifts for care packages, such as letters and bracelets
If a veteran with mesothelioma in your life is currently receiving treatment, you can also put together a care package of their favorite things to help them recover.
4. Raise Awareness About Mesothelioma and Asbestos Risks
Raising awareness about mesothelioma is a great way to help veterans know their risks and get diagnosed earlier. Further, it can help raise money for research organizations that are looking for innovative treatments and a cure for mesothelioma.
Here are some ways to raise awareness about mesothelioma:
- Host a fundraiser for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization or the Meso Foundation
- Schedule a phone call or meeting with your local representative to discuss the issues of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma
- Ask local news stations to run stories about veterans and mesothelioma
Asbestos is not banned in the U.S. and poses a threat to veterans, service members, and civilians today. For example, older buildings, vehicles, or ships may still contain asbestos. If the asbestos is disturbed, someone could breathe it in and get sick.
Helping Veterans With Mesothelioma Every Day
Getting involved on Veterans Day 2023 allows us to unite and honor the sacrifices our service members have made.
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center, on this holiday and every day of the year, remains dedicated to helping veterans with mesothelioma access the VA benefits, treatment, and financial aid they need.
Veterans will always carry the experiences of their military service, whether they are positive, traumatic, or both. In some cases, veterans sacrificed their lives for our country, either in the line of duty or long after they have served due to mesothelioma or other disabilities.
If someone you love is a veteran with mesothelioma, learn how we can help you by ordering our Free Veterans Packet now.