Posted in November 2011

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

This week, we would like to share Gary‘s battle with Mesothelioma.

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.

Gary’s Story

(Shared by his daughter, Cathy)

Name: Gary

Country: Canada

Date of 1st Symptoms: 1-SEPT-2010

Date of Diagnosis: 14-DEC-2010

Diagnosis: Pleural Mesothelioma

Treatment: None

1934 – 2011

How has Asbestos changed your life? (unedited):

My dad was unknowingly exposed to asbestos indirectly while he served in the Canadian Air Force for 23 years. He worked in power plants, where the pipes and boilers were lined with asbestos. When his doctors started to realize that his illness was related to asbestos exposure, they asked him where and when he had been exposed. “I wasn’t”, was his response. Only after going back in his work history, and learning about those pipes and boilers, did we start to unravel this horrible legacy of his work from 20 years ago. How many unknowing victims are being exposed around the globe today? I always knew that asbestos was a terrible substance and that it caused death. I had been teaching Environmental Studies at the University level for over a decade and sometimes discussed the disastrous consequences of asbestos use. How ironic and horrible and unfathomable when I learned less than a year ago that my dad was dying from it. I still can’t believe that this happened. He was my soul mate, my hero, my most wonderful dad. He was the “Opa” to my boys. We were robbed of his love, his wonderful embrace and his laughter and jokes. His photo sits prominently in our living room, and I pass it and glance at it every day, sometimes imagining that he is actually sitting there on the couch. I pretend he is still living, and then the tears flow over. He didn’t need to die such a painful and premature death. And now I have to live with the knowledge that my country, the one he was so proud of, and served for so many years, is killing countless other victims. I cannot rest and allow myself to start to heal until Canada stops exporting asbestos.