Posted on March 2, 2014
It feels like yesterday when I attended my first Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma in 2004, as I was seeking medical information for my husband, Alan. Alone, isolated and in pain, I joined others with similar tragic experiences. There was an unspoken language between us and immeasurable compassion. I returned home with more than a binder of information; I left with a new family of friends. Community for both the patient and family is essential – not only to enrich our quality of life, but to develop and improve treatment.
ADAO greatly respects and appreciates MARF’s dedication “to ending mesothelioma and the suffering caused by it, by funding research, providing education and support for patients and their families, and by advocating for federal funding of mesothelioma research.”
I haven’t missed a symposium yet and long to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, hear about the clinical trials funded by MARF, and learn of advances in treatment. We all know the most effective weapon we have in the fight against asbestos is our solidarity in advancing education, promoting advocacy, strengthening community and, of course, increasing funding for a cure. I am humbled as I reflect on receiving MARF’s 2011 Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award and remember standing side by side Larry Davis as he too was honored.
MARF continues to bring amazing experts together. Their symposiums is also important to me for the sense of education but also for community. As we grieve the loss of our loved ones and friends, it is healing to be together with others who understand. As Queen Elizabeth II said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
There is still time to register for MARF’s “Breaking through Barriers” symposium. I promise that you will be glad you attended and will learn more about supporting this wonderful organization.