FROM THE HEADLINES: What the Supreme Court Decision and the ACA Mean to Mesothelioma Patients

Statement: Kathy Wiedemer, Executive Director, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is pleased the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act constitutional.  We have worked with other national health organizations to ensure the concerns of our patient and family caregiver communities addressed through the Act were upheld by the Court. The blog below will clarify many of the questions regarding the Act and how it will affect mesothelioma patients.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  By a vote of 5 to 4, the Court ruled that the law is constitutional.  Chief Justice Roberts (considered a conservative) joined the four liberal justices to uphold the law. A copy of the decision is available here.

You may wonder what this really means, and how will it affect meso patients.  In a nutshell, here is what happened…

The decision of the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate provision, which requires American citizens to be insured or subject to a penalty tax.  This means that the majority of citizens must either hold private health insurance, be covered under an employer-based health plan or be enrolled in a public plan such as Medicare or Medicaid. Those who are not covered under one of these programs will be subject to a tax. Whether and how this tax would be enforced is unclear, though the court was clear that it would be considered a tax like any other. Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: What the Supreme Court Decision and the ACA Mean to Mesothelioma Patients” »

Taking in the Sights: Things to Do in Washington D.C.

Before we know it, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s 2012 Symposium will be happening. Some of you may be joining us online (and welcome aboard — make sure you have your questions ready for the asking!), but for those of you making the trip to the Nation’s Capital, maybe you will want to plan an extended weekend around your time with us.

Sounds like a solid plan as there is a lot to see and do in Washington. Just off the top of our heads, we can recommend:

Along with these sights, there are some terrific exhibits geared for all kinds of interests in the week of the 2012 Symposium: Continue reading “Taking in the Sights: Things to Do in Washington D.C.” »

The Meso Foundation’s Hope Builder Award 2012 Recipient: Bonnie Anderson

At the Meso Foundation’s annual symposium — this year, happening July 12-13 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC — individuals are honored for superlative service to the community, ranging from volunteer efforts to advancement in research. The Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award recognizes an individual or organization advocating for change on a national and international level. Recipients of the Hope Builder Award have dedicated their time and their drive to educate people about mesothelioma and its devastating effects on families and society. The Meso Foundation awards the 2012 Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award to Bonnie Anderson. Bonnie Anderson was instrumental in having September 26th declared as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day by the United States Congress. She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of mesothelioma and voiced her support for Congressman Lance’s MODDERN Cures Act. Bonnie’s challenges have ranged between breaking into a male-dominated heavy industry field during the 1970’s, performing investigative research in areas well beyond her college degrees, and facing (and surviving) mesothelioma, and her story continues to present day where she is a regular participant in support group calls and helps counsel new patients both in her own community and around the world online.

Her journey began shortly after graduating from college with a dual degree in Elementary Education and Library Science. Faced with few options due to the Vietnam War and low enrollment in primary schools, Bonnie applied for a posting at a local oil refinery in mechanics. She completed a three-year training program to become part of a vanguard of female industrial electricians. For twelve years she worked in the strenuous environment of heavy industry before returning to her love of teaching and of research. It was then that she became a middle school librarian and never looked back.

It was in 2001 when Bonnie became increasingly ill. A year later, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

In November 2011, Bonnie was honored by the New Jersey Work Environment Council for her mesothelioma advocacy. A nine-year meso survivor, Bonnie was recognized alongside a distinguished group of honorees including Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Congressman Frank Pallone of NJ’s 6th Congressional District. Bonnie was chosen for “raising awareness about asbestos-caused mesothelioma by getting bills passed in New Jersey and Congress to designate September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day and for winning a landmark lawsuit against ExxonMobil for secondhand exposure to asbestos.” At this year’s Meso Foundation Symposium, Bonnie will be the recipient of the 2012 Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award.

It is with great pleasure and joy that we at the Meso Foundation name Bonnie this year’s Hope Award receipent.

Have you made arrangements to join us — either virtually or physically — for this year’s symposium? The Meso Foundation Symposium 2012 takes place in Washington DC this year, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. This year, presenters include Raja Flores, MD, Giovanni Gaudino, PhD,  Steven Hahn, MD,  Harvey Pass, MD, Daniel Sterman, MD, David Sugarbaker, MD, Raffit Hassan, MD,  Robert Kratzke, MD, Lee Krug, MD, and many others, discussing a wide range of topics covering the latest in science and mesothelioma treatment advances. Join us in Washington DC or join us online as we at the Meso Foundation ask you “What’s Your Question?”

The Meso Foundation’s Pioneer of the Year Award Recipient: Dr. David Sugarbaker, MD

At the Meso Foundation’s annual Symposium — this year, happening July 12-13 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC — individuals are bestowed honors for superlative service to the community, ranging from volunteer efforts to advancement in research. The Pioneer Award was designed to support individual scientists and clinicians of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming approaches – to major challenges in mesothelioma treatment and/or research. This year’s recipient of the Pioneer Award is Dr. David Sugarbaker. Dr. Sugarbaker in addition to his novel approaches to mesothelioma surgery has contributed a vast array of impressive research topics in peer reviewed medical journals.  He has trained many young surgeons and has inspired countless others to remain committed to mesothelioma research and treatment.

Have you made arrangements to join us — either virtually or physically — for this year’s symposium? The Meso Foundation Symposium 2012 takes place in Washington DC this year, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. This year, guests include Raja Flores, MD, Stephen Hahn, MD, Raffit Hassan, MD, Robert Kratzke, MD, Harvey Pass, MD, Daniel Sterman, MD, David Sugarbaker, MD, and Robert Taub, MD, PhD among others. Presentations include a wide range of topics covering the latest research, novel approaches to treatment, and reflective moments with members of the meso community. With so many amazing people in attendance, come join us in Washington DC or join us online as we at the Meso Foundation ask you “What’s Your Question?”

FOR THE FOUNDATION: Students Overseas Sponsor Summer Bazaar to Raise Awareness for Mesothelioma

Students at the Kuwait American School (KAS) organized a charity expo on April 28th to raise awareness for mesothelioma research. After their beloved school director Mrs. Wajeeha Al Habib fell to mesothelioma cancer, the student body rallied and proposed to the school the idea of an open bazaar. Thirty small businesses sold their services and unique products to guests. Booths comprised of businesses offering desserts, summer programs, accessories, and others, with the entrance fee and booth rent given to a “Cure Mesothelioma” booth organized and run by the student body. Even with such a short period of planning, KAS gave their students full support for this heartfelt idea, and allowed for the collection of donations at the Cure Meso booth.

Have a look at the KAS publication StudenTalk magazine’s “Activities That Stand Out” to read their own coverage of the event.

Raising funds and awareness about mesothelioma cancer isn’t easy, and still people want to know more about how to organize an event. We see that in the amount of people visiting our 6 Tips on Planning Your Own Fundraiser blogpost. It’s when you hear stories from Erica Iacono and Janice Malkotsis, you discover, that planning fundraisers is simply answering a call. When it comes to this the KAS student body displayed the drive and spirit needed in doing just that, and taking an idea to full fruition as a successful fundraiser.

At the end of the event, the KAS charity bazaar proved highly successful with over 1000 attendees, numerous contributions from sponsors, and held in the presence of H.E. Sheikha Awrad Jaber Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. The event also gained momentum on blogs, and in local newspapers and magazines. The students of KAS raised for the Meso Foundation $19,826, truly an accomplishment from the heart. This event, KAS school administration and students alike, was a one-of-a-kind, the cause of furthering mesothelioma research and believing in a cure deeply touching all who took part.

(
Caption
(Starting from the left) Living Values Booth: Shereen Kamal, Razan AlHuneidi, Ashraqat Sayed, Mariam, Shaaban, Omniya Sobl, Duaa Mansour (Living Values Booth) with Al-Sheikha Awrad AlSubah
Nadeem_Photography (42)
Nadeem_Photography (187)
(
Caption
(Starting from the left) Ahmed Sedfi, Serein Maxx, Latifa Al-Baqshi, Sina Karimi, managing the Donations for Mesothelioma Booth
S
Caption
Salwa, Abeer Al-Halabi, Al-Sheikha Awrad Al-Subah, Batool Arjomand,
F
Caption
Fawaz AlShammari Presenting An Award Of Gratitude To Al-Sheikha Awrad Al-Subah

We at the Meso Foundation thank all those at KAS for their determination, vision, and planning of this incredible tribute to Wajeeha Al Habib, and we sincerely hope to hear more from them, and from other mesothelioma warriors around the world, of overcoming their own challenges and achieving accomplishments for raising awareness.