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National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

On the eve of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day I want to take a moment to share with you a few touching tales from my past weekend.

When I was invited to the Simmons Law 4th Annual Miles For Meso event in Alton, Illinois I was truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a worthwhile event. I didn’t have any idea the effect it would have on me as my father’s daughter, my father being a victim of Mesothelioma, and paying the ultimate price this past July.

I went intending to run, or at least walk, the 5K course, most likely thinking of my dad as he had run the route last year. I wasn’t planning on learning how much he’d effected others in attendance. I didn’t realize there would be a moment of silence to reflect on all that this man, my dad, had brought to the Meso community … and all that he had taken when he left. As Mary Hesdorffer said, “He took up a lot of space.” Yes, yes he did. And there is a huge hole where he once was.

I don’t think that hole will ever be filled, especially in regards to all that he took on in his battle with this disease. I, however, have other memories now, through the eyes and the words of the people I met this past weekend in Alton.

In addition to the condolences and the well wishes, I also had the opportunity to answer questions dealing only with my dad, this disease and how he tried to change the face of it. It was better than any conversation I’d had with anyone since his death. It was totally focused on him and my memories of him and the questions were well rounded and completely in tune with all that he was up against. I tend to only do interviews in hopes of getting his word out and awareness up and I don’t mind admitting I was hesitant on what I would say and how I would say it. I even apologized before the interview for any inability to speak clearly or concisely. But when it was said and done, and the tears were streaming down my face, it was something that no therapist or friend could’ve asked about. And somewhere in the run and in the interview and in the faces of the friends my father met along his terrible, heartbreaking journey, I found a little bit of peace.

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