Mesothelioma Awareness Day Spreads

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for mesothelioma by funding research, providing patients support services, and participating in federal mesothelioma advocacy, has earmarked Saturday, Sept. 26, as Mesothelioma Awareness Day and says that this year's observance will be its most successful awareness campaign to date.

For months leading up to next week, MARF volunteers have been requesting Awareness Day proclamations through their local governments and contacting radio stations across the country, requesting playtime and airtime to spread awareness of the disease, specifically by playing Warren Zevon’s music followed by a 20-second segment about mesothelioma. Zevon, a singer/songwriter who died of the incurable cancer in September 2003, wrote and recorded hundreds of songs such as "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "Hasten Down the Wind," and "Carmelita." He scored his biggest hit with the 1978 album "Excitable Boy," which contained the top-20 single "Werewolves of London."

MARF started campaigning for an official Awareness Day in 2005. That year, according to the organization, only a handful of radio stations participated. This year, it says, planned coverage has increased to more than 100 radio stations and newspapers in some 20 states.

Caused by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma is particularly ruthless but does not usually get much coverage in the media, despite the fact that approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year, MARF says. The foundation adds that those newly diagnosed often do not know where to turn for treatment, help, and information, and instead, too often, are told by their physicians that they should get their affairs in order and prepare to die.

"It is important to spread the word, to let everyone know about the viciousness of mesothelioma, but also to tell them about the resources and services available if they are ever faced with it," said MARF volunteer Bonnie Anderson. "I have been a part of the Meso Foundation since my diagnosis and have been very grateful for their support. This is my way of giving back to the community."

For more information on the foundation, this year's Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and how to get involved, visit www.curemeso.org.

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