Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe environment. That environment includes where you live, work, play, and pray. We reject and actively push back against racist rhetoric, actions, policies and institutional oppression that leads to state-sanctioned brutality, gun violence, and harm that again and again assaults communities, particularly communities of color. We are committed to working for justice and equity, and are in solidarity with social, racial, and environmental justice organizations to build community, understanding and honest dialogue to address the root causes of violence, harm and hate.

Heather Von St. James

October Inspirational Woman

Inspirational Woman
My name is Heather Von St. James. I am a wife, mother, and mesothelioma cancer survivor.

I was in my prime when I was given 15 months to live. I was 36 and had given birth to my only child, Lily, just 3 ½ months prior to being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.  This was due to the direct result of being exposed to a deadly substance that is still used around the world: I was exposed secondhand to asbestos through my father’s work clothes when I was just 9 years old.

Sadly, I am just one of 3,000 people who are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos can lie dormant within your system for 20-30 years. As a result, diagnosis typically does not occur until the cancer enters its later stages.  It is estimated that only 10% will live to celebrate 5 years of survival while the others will only live a mere 10 months past diagnosis.

Despite my grim prognosis, Dr. David Sugarbaker, who is considered one of the world’s leading experts in mesothelioma, provided me with a glimmer hope. I underwent an extremely risky surgery called extrapleural pneumonectomy. Now, 7 ½ years and one lung later, I’ve made it my mission to bring hope and awareness to this disease.

September 26 is a day very near and dear to my heart- Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This year, I created a virtual campaign, “Dying to be Heard,” which asks participants to give their voice to the victims of mesothelioma. My campaign simply asks for voices through a donation of a social status.

By creating conversation about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, we can strive to create a ban on asbestos, hold asbestos companies accountable for the lives they have stolen, and honor those who have had their voices silenced by this disease.



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