Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lung Leavin’ Day

Two days ago I received an email from Cameron Von St. James – one of the authors of  What is mesothelioma? 

Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).
(from Wikipedia)

It’s a cancer.  Every time we hear the word cancer, we cringed.  Because, correct me if I’m wrong, but cancer (whatever type it is) has no known cure yet.  You only get remission (the time cancer is no longer detectable in your body or is still detectable but is no longer growing in size).   

Cameron’s wife, Heather, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, 8 years ago,  shortly after giving birth to their daughter Lily.  Here's part of the email that Cameron sent me, the story that changed their lives forever:

"In November 2005, just three months after giving birth to our daughter Lily Rose, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleuralmesothelioma.  After several biopsies and other tests, Heather was a candidate for a surgery called an extrapleural pnemonectomy.  This massive surgery involves the removal of the affected lung.  We embarked on a journey to find the best mesothelioma treatment available which led us to Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned mesothelioma surgeon at the Boston based Brigham and Women’s hospital.

On February 2, 2006 Heather had her left lung removed.  Heather’s sister and I decided that we needed to make a celebration of this day.  Usually people don’t celebrate a surgery but this surgery changed our lives forever.  We decided to name it LungLeavin’ Day, the day Heather’s lung left her.  The following year, we came up with the idea of writing our biggest fears on a plate and smashing them into the bonfire in our backyard.  Since then, our celebration has grown to include over 75 friends and family who come to celebrate life with us.  We all have a fear to overcome, and what better way to take control of it by smashing it into a fire!

On February 2, 2014 we will celebrate Lung Leavin' Day and Heather being an eight-year mesothelioma cancer survivor! We have made it our mission to help other mesothelioma victims by spreading awareness, in hopes that someday no one else will have to."

They celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day yearly, every February 2nd.  Family and friends gather around their backyard and they write all their fears in a plate and smash them into the fire.

You too can join them in their Lung Leavin’ Day.  Just go to this interactive website:

Thank you, Cameron and Family, for sharing this information with us and for giving us hope through your story.

Please share this to everyone you know J


  1. Whoa! This is the very first time I've heard of a lung cancer survivor. A friend whose mom died of it researched on it and said there are zero chances of surviving it. This is great news. How encouraging! Thanks for sharing.

  2. It's a wonderful cause to have these events :-) I am sure this will be a great eye opener for everyone. Thanks for sharing :-)

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