Posted on April 16, 2020
It is with profound sadness that I share that Mike Mattmuller, age of 38, passed away on April 14, 2020.
Please join me in remembering and honoring the life of this great man, dedicated fighter, devoted husband and wonderful father.
Mike was one of a kind. After being diagnosed with this horrible disease at the age of 29, Mike and his wife, Jessica, became strong advocates to ban asbestos and promote research for a cure. Mike spent an endless amount of time sharing his story at several Congressional Briefings and in meetings with the EPA. It was incredible to watch him speak on the Hill — people stopped moving, papers stopped rustling, and every ear listened intently to each word Mike said. He was able to poignantly describe the disease and risks of asbestos exposure to Congressional members in a way that truly had an impact. He convinced them to stop their busy day for just a minute and really tune in and listen. Mike truly made a difference.
Through it all, Mike relied on his faith and family, and he always stayed positive. He and Jessica welcomed their daughter Riley in June 2016.
When asked to share his story, Mike said, “During the past 6 and a half years I have found my strength in my family. The dream of starting a family with my wife drove me through treatments. During the time that I was N.E.D., we bravely decided to start our family and not let the fear of this horrible disease stop us from our dreams. We had a baby girl, named Riley, that instantly stole our hearts and the hearts of many others. You see since being diagnosed, we have found an amazing silver lining in this horrible disease with the community of survivors and caregivers.”
Dr. Raja Flores tenderly shared, “Mike was such a warrior. He took precious time away from his family to get the message out that asbestos kills and new legislation was needed to save lives. He showed up to meetings in DC and any other venue where he felt his voice could have an impact. I am in awe of him. May God bless his soul.”
Mike’s calming and welcome presence and firm vision for the future allowed him to make friends quickly and easily. Mike made a huge impact on the greater ADAO community. He was a Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) ambassador from 2014-2020, and was both an honoree and a speaker at our 2017 international asbestos awareness conference. ADAO personally was honored to give the Alan Reinstein Award in 2017 for his commitment to asbestos and mesothelioma education, advocacy, and personal support. The award goes to someone who has made an invaluable impact in the fight against asbestos.
“Mike’s death is very sad and represents one more death that could have been and should have been prevented. Only a ban will accomplish this. Mike’s work to make such a ban happen was so important and will not go unrecognized. Thank you Mike and to your family for all their support in this cause,” shared Dr. Richard Lemen. “My sympathies go to all your family and friends at this time. We will ban asbestos.”
Photographer Earl Dotter focused his 5th BADGES Poster: “Progress & Challenges from the Frontlines” on Mike and Jessica. Through his images, Earl followed their journey as advocates, showcasing photos from their testimony before Congress as well as their family life persevering with asbestos-linked disease.
Mike and Jess were featured in Conor Lewis and Zack Johnson’s award-winning asbestos documentary, “Dirty Laundry.” We were joined together watching the film on Tuesday, when David Mattmuller shared the very sad news about Mike’s passing.
I want to send my deepest condolences to Jessica and Riley Jean, and Mike’s family and friends. I am looking into our future, to a world where there is a complete and total ban of asbestos and no one has to know the pain Mike, Jessica, and so many of us have felt. But I have no doubt in my mind that Mike’s light will continue to shine on. We will never forget him.
For those who have asked, contributions to help Jess and Riley can be sent to my personal PayPal account.
Remembering a hero, a friend, and a Warrior with love and sadness.