Asking for support of mesothelioma funding ~ The Truth About Mesothelioma

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Asking for support of mesothelioma funding

Today was busy with meetings at Capitol Hill, asking legislators to support a total ban of asbestos in the United States, funding for mesothelioma research, and that they designate September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

The day began with a briefing from Chris Hahn, the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), with latest numbers about federal funding for meso research (WAY below every other cancer) and information about goals for new legislation. A bill to ban asbestos and fund meso research has been before the Senate for the past SEVEN YEARS. In 2008, S774, more commonly known as the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act, passed the Senate, and in 2008 its companion, HR3339/6903, made it to committee in the House of Representatives, but never made it to the floor. It died in committee when the session ended and we now have to start all over.

Beginning at 11 a.m., I met with aides from Congressman Bobby Bright’s office, as well as the offices of Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. I was disappointed that I was unable to meet with any of the legislators personally, but two of the aides were particularly enthusiastic about our efforts, and the third was amenable, so I have high hopes. Now I will simply begin to pester people until we finally see some legislation! I left copies of our petition in support of these efforts with each of the Congressional offices, so I hope they will listen to our voices!

Tomorrow the sixth annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma will address the latest topics in mesothelioma research and treatment. 170 people attended the Advocacy Day today, and 230 people will attend the conference tomorrow and Saturday, the largest number yet.

Chris Hahn told us, “The way that we’re going to cure this disease is through community. On Advocacy Day, each person’s voice makes a real difference, and each of you speak for hundreds who could not be here.”

I hope our legislature is listening.

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