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?”

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