September 26, 2019 marks the 16th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Since 2004, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has spearheaded Mesothelioma Awareness Day to drive more attention and funding toward mesothelioma treatment research.
For over a decade and a half, the thousands of participants in Mesothelioma Awareness Day have helped more and more families affected by this devastating cancer.
The Origins of Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was founded on September 26, 2004 by a group of volunteers at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
From the beginning, their goals for Mesothelioma Awareness Day have been to:
- Raise awareness about mesothelioma
- Raise money to research better treatments for mesothelioma
- Support mesothelioma victims and their families
Some activities, such as donating and requesting official recognition (called a proclamation) of Mesothelioma Awareness Day from state and local governments, have always been part of the foundation’s efforts.
However, Mesothelioma Awareness Day has grown tremendously in participation, recognition, and the number of lives it has been able to change for the better.
The Growth of Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Since its founding in 2004, those affected by mesothelioma have observed Mesothelioma Awareness Day every September 26th. With every year, the number of events, participants, and funds raised for those suffering from this aggressive cancer has only increased.
As the day gained popularity, it also accomplished some impressive feats.
The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation Launches Miles for Meso
The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation launched the first Miles for Meso on September 26, 2009, in Illinois.
Miles for Meso is an annual 5K walk and run dedicated to raising funds for mesothelioma research and support.
Since 2009, races have been held in:
To date, all of the races have generated over $650,000 in proceeds for the Meso Foundation.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day Becomes Nationally Recognized
After tireless efforts from the Meso Foundation and the surrounding community, on September 25, 2009, the United States Senate passed a resolution designating September 26th National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. On November 30th, 2010, the House of Representatives followed suit.
This monumental achievement was a crucial step in raising national awareness of mesothelioma, increasing funding, and, ultimately, finding better treatments.
Despite the federal recognition of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, however, the Meso Foundation still urges those fighting to end mesothelioma to request annual proclamations from their state and local governments.
Such proclamations help raise awareness in local communities and may help Mesothelioma Awareness Day gain local media attention.
Other Awareness Efforts
The Meso Foundation and others have participated in countless activities every September 26th.
Other awareness efforts and campaigns include:
- Meso Foundation volunteers appearing on the Today Show
- Meso Foundation leaders participating in educational media tours
- Hosting mesothelioma conferences
- Launching social media campaigns
- Calling on participants to wear blue shirts and mesothelioma awareness ribbons
- Mesothelioma fundraisers
Get Involved This National Mesothelioma Awareness Day
For the past 16 years, the Meso Foundation and other organizations and individuals have made tremendous progress toward mesothelioma treatment and patient support.
On Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2017 alone, people around the United States raised over $100,000. In 2018, the Meso Foundation reached $10 Million awarded in research grants.
However, mesothelioma is still a devastating cancer that too many people are not aware of — and that nobody should have developed.
You can participate in National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2019 by:
- Sharing the Meso Foundation’s social media posts
- Sharing pictures of you wearing blue with friends and family
- Participating in a local mesothelioma fundraiser
- Donating directly to the Meso Foundation
Next year, consider holding your own fundraiser, ordering a mesothelioma awareness ribbon, or obtaining a Mesothelioma Awareness Day proclamation from your state or locality.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day has come so far in the past 16 years because of individuals who were willing to take action. Even the smallest amount of participation will help make National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2019 the strongest yet.