This is part of a blog series comprised of live posts from the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, held March 2-March 4, 2015 in Bethesda, MD. The event was organized by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, and co-hosted with the National Cancer Institute.

That is the theme of this year’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. Over the past 24 hours, I have had the privilege of being around an incredible group of people. From patients and their caregivers, to researchers and advocates. It’s been a truly humbling experience.

During the first day of the conference, I met people from across the country and the world, all of whom are devoted to fighting mesothelioma. I have heard their personal stories about how this horrific disease has impacted their lives.

Perhaps the most inspiring moment of the conference so far was during the awards dinner last night. At the dinner, “mesothelioma warriors” were invited to come on stage and be recognized. One by one, they each stated their name, type of mesothelioma, and how long he or she has been a warrior—3 years, pleural; 5 years, peritoneal. One gentleman even proudly proclaimed 99 months. I can say with confidence that the entire room was cheering him onto 100!

One couple who has been coming to this conference for years told me that 3 years was the “wow” number for a long time. To hear 13 years and 9 years is remarkable and shows how far the research has come.

Day 2 began with some incredible facts about mesothelioma:

  • $9 million in Research Funding
  • 93 Studies Funded
  • Currently, on, there are 92 open clinical trials that include mesothelioma
  • 9 Mesothelioma Research Grants have been funded by the Department of Defense

To re-state the theme of the conference, we need to find the answer and we need to be the answer. Funding research allows us to do that. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is dedicated to funding mesothelioma research. For every dollar donated to them, 0.86 goes to research.

To learn how you be the answer, go to