Salt Lake City, UT – My cousin and Larry’s niece, Emily Bleyl, has been selected as one of Utah’s 30 Women to Watch! It’s quite an honor. And isn’t it wonderful when you are recognized as a standout in your work, but also when it can benefit others? Well, that’s exactly what Emma is helping to do …
The Utah Business Magazine is running a list of profiles on their Facebook page of the top women in varying professions. My cousin, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, is dedicated to helping professionals in her field grow, as well as the people around her and in helping carry on my father’s legacy by warning others of the effects of asbestos.
UBM has offered the winner $1000 to the charity of her choice and a $15,000 ad campaign to boot! Emily has selected the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization as her charity and I’m hoping you will vote for her from now until May 17th!
You can vote once every 24 hours by going to her page ( http://on.fb.me/102MMTO ) and “Like” both advertisements. Her photo should appear and you will see five stars to the right of the image. Click on the stars and you will have voted! Please share around and drum up more support.
Best of luck to you Emily! Thank you for remembering my father, Larry Davis, and continuing his work of advocating for others. xoxo ~Courtney
As an avid runner, Florida resident Larry Davis was on top of his health. Having lost his father rather early in life due to smoking, Larry made it a point to take care of himself. He maintained a well-balanced diet throughout the years and ran 5K races regularly, a habit he developed in his early thirties. Despite his healthy lifestyle, Larry was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 61.
Larry’s father worked at a paper company for 38 years. He remembered his dad coming home covered in a flaky residue, never thinking the innocuous looking particle would eventually become his enemy. He later found out it was asbestos, which has come to be known as the silent killer. “I was exposed from the time I was baby,” he said during a 2011 interview. It was a reality that sadly many other victims end up facing––a fate that was decided for them before they even had a say.
Like most of today’s population, Larry didn’t know about the dangers of asbestos until after he became a victim. He immediately began chemotherapy, losing almost 60 pounds in the first month. He underwent 5 surgeries and nearly died from multiple infections due to needing an ostomy bag for a year. There was even a six-month period where he waited for a surgery incision just to heal.
In the end, Larry came out on top.
Moments after I heard about the tragedy in Boston, I thought to myself … this is just the thing I want to call up my
father and see if he knows already.
As many of you know my father died in July of last year from Mesothelioma. Now I can only think to myself how the conversation would go.
Monday morning while I was listing to Kelcey Carlson’s husband on the radio reminding me of her love to run and that she was back in Boston to do another marathon, I was reminded that my dad went last year. I was not invited and it too brings up painful memories of how his wife never accepted most of our family, but that was what I was thinking that morning. By the afternoon, however, I was shocked to see what was happening in the city my dad loved.
My father lived and worked for years in Boston. It was about a decade after he started running that he moved to the state directly to our north. He worked for New Balance, a company based on running shoes, and took me to the marathon itself year after year. I remember once driving along the course and trying to see my cousins who were running the marathon in a relay. My father ran it a number of times and when he didn’t he was always keeping tabs on it. So I’m am really glad that last year it was a big event for him. He was terribly sick and so very proud of his wife’s daughter for gaining admittance AND racing a week or so after her appendix burst. They all went up and completed the race as my dad waited it out in the hotel room. At that point my father had so very little energy, he was wheelchair bound and his wife did a wonderful job getting him there for the last possible time.
Had it not been for asbestos and the resulting cancer that took his ability to run and ultimately his life, we would’ve been able to talk about what went on that terrible afternoon, on Patriots day in the city we shared.
According to the US Government Printing Office the full title is as follows:
“To amend title 11 of the United States Code to require the public disclosure by trusts established under section 524(g) of such title, of quarterly reports that contain detailed information regarding the receipt and disposition of claims for injuries based on exposure to asbestos; and for other purposes.”
As many of you already know, the use of ASBESTOS was never really banned here in the U.S. ASBESTOS exposure is currently considered the leading cause of the terribly debilitating and deadly disease Mesothelioma. It is a cancer that attacks the mesothelium, basically the layer of cells that surrounds our body’s organs. In my father it did not attack his lungs as it has many of it’s victims, but rather the linings of his lower internal organs. Ultimately the meso tumors grew so large around his intestines, they blocked his bowel and forced him onto a purely medical, liquid diet. He grew weaker and thinner and he was unable to move around, let alone continue to run marathons and have a pint at the pub.
Fortunately he had health insurance at the time of his diagnosis, however the extent of the bills I can only imagine, was overwhelming. Had it not been for his lawyer and their hard work advocating for victims of Mesothelioma, then my father would have never seen the producers and users of asbestos punished for killing him.
From what I understand this FACT Act, H.R. 982, currently before the 113th Congress, was designed to cut down on potential fraudulent claims that asbestos is killing people. I can promise you that my father did not make up this disease. I can promise you that he was not pretending to die. And there are millions of other victims who also died as a direct result of asbestos poisoning … and only 1 claim of fraud in those millions has been identified.
So instead of creating a Bill to ban the use of asbestos completely, Congress is working to approve a bill that may very well place road blocks in the way of patients seeking financial help and compensation for their pain and suffering and medical bills. This bill is also expected to totally invade the privacy of the little guy, the victim and the family, by allowing these giant corporations who’ve continued using this known carcinogen to access client information including confidential settlements, exposure points, work history and the like. Effectively making each victim’s personal information available outright and creating a situation where these businesses can continue to pass the buck or at the very least continue to look for loop holes and outs and prolong the potential (and sometimes essential) compensation.
To help & support victim’s rights you can log on to on www.cancervictimsrights.org now and sign up to TAKE ACTION.
Also write your congressmen & women and let them know you have SIGNED THE PETITION.
This year’s Mesothelioma Symposium, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, brought together some of the country’s finest people. Victims of the terrible disease, both the patients and the caregivers, doctors, lawyers, staffers and friends.
I admit the lead-up to this conference brought up a lot of the pain that occurred during my father’s life and even more that came in his death. The
anxiety I felt course through me was overwhelming, but I was able to use it to fuel a fire I’d let go out during the last few months. That was the fight for justice over the people my dad left in charge to make sure his final wishes were carried out. Now I can’t say what will or won’t happen, because I don’t know. But I finally had the energy to remind a few people that I love my father with all my heart and that no matter what they try to take, I have won’t renounce that he was my dad.
This past Friday’s symposium dinner was an amazing reminder that his energy not only flows through me but also through a foundation he worked ever so hard for. I introduced myself around to those who may or may not have remembered me saying, ‘I’m Courtney, Larry Davis’ daughter’. It was so good to see people around me who so loved and enjoyed my dad. The people who he had turned to for information initially and friendship later. Unfortunately I forgot in my moment of accepting his award the Larry Davis Memorial Grant to sign off with what became is go to signature “Believe in a Cure, Believe in Yourself‘. I was able to get in a good deal of Thank You’s to Mary Hesdorffer for always being an amazing point person, to Erica Ruble who also lost her father to this horrible disease who has been fighting to make every day better, raise money and for being such a great friend, first to my dad, and then to me. I needed to have thanked the whole Foundation staff for what they do every day and their help in making my father’s award happen, to all the folks who donated to the annual fund, and to the people who donated in my dad’s name when he died. Fortunately I did remember, actually there was no way I would forget (!), to thank Janelle who fights the affects of Meso every day of her young life and yet looks like a beacon of happiness despite the pain, discomfort and the unknowing. Janelle raised a significant amount of money in my dad’s honor during a motorcycle ride this past fall. She is a beacon and her attitude is outstanding. I’m sure I don’t even know all of the other people who had ideas or funds that I may have overlooked, but I do believe that one of the best assets of the Meso Foundation is it’s ability to keep bringing people into their community and working for a cure.
Of course, I should also thank my aunt, uncle and boyfriend for being so supportive, even when I’m so stressed I can barely hold the tears in. It was a difficult weekend for all of us, but I believe the community made it easier.
My love to the Meso Foundation, my family and to the loving memory of my dad, may he rest in piece.
A few other groups I’ve failed to name outright are the law firms that have helped by sponsoring my father’s 3 South Florida Miles for Meso events and helped him to pay for his medical costs by virtue of a settlement; Simmons Law, Sokolove Law, Weitz & Luxemburg, Early Ludwick Sweeney & Straus and Levy Phillips and Konigsberg.
As I struggled weighing through my options and my finances in regards to whether or not I could make the trip to Las Vegas for the 2013 Meso Foundation’s Annual gathering, I’m reminded of so many things that have happened during the months since my father’s death. I thought I’d take a moment to remember and to write so that those of you out there can also be prepared.
First I commend the Meso Foundation Board & Staff for all they do. I did not take advantage of the resources they provide nearly enough before or after my father died. These gatherings/conferences/symposiums are a great place to seek out information. My father seemed to do an excellent job meeting people and having discussions with everyone, from survivors & patients to doctors and Foundation members. The Foundation offers panels on treatments, and fundraising and getting politicians to respond and legislate. There are also support groups, help-lines and social media circles for nearly every turn along the terrible path of destruction Mesothelioma leaves behind. There are also bright spots along the way and many of them are linked to the helpful folks you will find at the Foundation.
So, in preparing for your trip to Vegas … check out the agenda. See what is good for you and make a plan. Next try to meet other attendees as well as the hosts and forge new relationships. I can tell you right now that 2 of the most supportive people in my father’s life, and in mine, were members of 2 different organizations. One who is the #1 fundraiser for the Meso Foundation and the other, the head of ADAO (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization). Granted my father was such a huge personality that I got both of them by default and by proxy, but they were there for me in the flesh when the time came to bury my dad. Also, from what I understand on the agenda, there is a legal panel meeting Thursday night and on Friday, one of the strongest women I know, Janelle Bedel, is teamed up with some other extraordinary folks in the ‘conversation with the community’ panel.
Remember that there will be others there for the first time and some repeat offenders, as my dad might say. Everyone struggles with this disease differently, but there is bound to be a person or two you can relate to.
These things and more over, these people, can help prepare you for later. This symposium can be the launching point for very sincere conversations about what will happen. There was no secret. My father was going to die from Mesothelioma. We didn’t know a lot about it. There isn’t currently a cure. But together we walked through it and we learned a lot along the way. I had a few, what I call “extra” years with my dad. Not everyone gets as long as I did. The end was sad and scary and he was so strong … and it was a community that kept him going. His family, his runners, his business partners and his friends in the meso community who fought for new information, for a cure, for funding, for legislation, who fought for him and gave him direction during some very dark days.
Yay! I’m heading to Vegas for the 2013 Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Annual Symposium.
I haven’t been to the Symposium in two years. Not since my father was alive. Last year I had to cancel because it was looking as though my dad, Larry Davis, was deteriorating in health quite rapidly. I felt terrible, especially since I was hoping to help out behind the scenes, but in the end I knew it was the right call. He passed shortly before the event and I was in no position to attend in the weeks following his death. This year will be the first year in which I will go without him.
Two years ago my father was awarded the Meso Foundation’s 2011 “Volunteer of the Year” for his fundraising achievements. He had raised about $50,000 through his annual South Florida Mile For Meso road race and his online donation page. A few months later the law firm of Levy, Phillips and Konigsberg designated him the “Advocate of the Month” through their STOP MESOTHELIOMA campaign.
This year the Meso Foundation has announced an award in honor of my father’s accomplishments as a fundraiser, advocate and six year survivor. The Larry Davis Memorial Grant will go to Joost Hegmans, a Post-Doc researcher at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Hegmans’ work on determining the macrophage recruitment/polarization as a prognostic and therapeutic target and whether it can aid in/be a cure for malignant mesothelioma has impressed the Meso board so much that they’ve awarded the grant to him, in my father’s name.
My Aunt Marilyn (dad’s sister) and Uncle Paul (brother in-law) will join me at the Gala Dinner on Friday March 8th. We look forward to honoring my dad, as well as all the other people who have been involved in raising the more than $100,000 it takes to back new research … and hopefully, a cure.
Like my father said at the end of each email, “Believe in a Cure – Believe in Yourself”.