Posted on September 27, 2015

We have been touched by asbestos in individual ways, yet we are joined together by a bond of community. As a testament to the strength of our global family, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is highlighting the courageous stories of our members with the “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

This week, we would like to honor the story of William, as shared by his wife Bobbie, who is a part of our ADAO family. We encourage you to submit your personal stories by clicking here and following the simple instructions on the page. In sharing, comes healing. Remember, you are not alone.

“Asbestos Took My Soul-Mate” – Bill’s Storywilliam shields

Name: William D Shields (Bill)

Location: Virginia

Date of Birth:01-FEB-1943

Date of Diagnosis: 16-JAN- 2004

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

Date of Death: 10-AUG-2004

How has asbestos changed your life? 

Bill and I met after we each had adult children. Our friendship quickly blossomed into a true “soul-mates” relationship. We enjoyed our combined family with lots of love and good times together. Bill loved life – especially family, friends, our cottage on the river, nature, boating and fishing. He was extremely talented in many ways and was a very friendly, out-going, lovable person.

In September, 2003, Hurricane Isabelle roared through Virginia and almost destroyed our home on the water. While trying to recover from that catastrophe, it became evident that Bill did not feel well. He went to the doctor who told him he had a collapsed lung and referred him to a lung specialist.

In January, 2004, the lung specialist admitted him to the hospital to run some tests. We were told that his lung had collapsed because he had Pleural Mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos. We were also told he only had a few months to live. He had worked in the shipyard when he was very young.

After many tests and doctor appointments, Bill endured a very complicated lung operation in March, 2004. After recuperating for about a month, he seemed to feel somewhat better. However, it soon became apparent that his health was declining rapidly. He required oxygen most of the time and was in a lot of pain. Watching him suffer so badly was very difficult. On August 10th, 2004, Mesothelioma claimed his life. Mere words cannot express how much we (his children, step-children and I) still love and miss him, and how angry we are that he suffered and died from a cancer that never should have happened. Asbestos is Deadly!

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