GUEST BLOG: Krisha Deaver and Why She Needs the Symposium

Krisha and Cam Deaverby Krisha Deaver

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the Symposium last year. I knew I needed to go, but that’s not the same thing.

I needed to go because information is power when fighting an elusive enemy like mesothelioma.

I needed to go because fighting cancer is lonely, and I wanted to meet people who understood.

I needed to go because my husband, Cam, is everything to me—and I’ll do whatever it takes to help him beat this disease.

But all the same, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In hindsight, I can recognize my hesitation for what it was: fear.

I was afraid it would be sad. I was particularly worried about a session that recognized those who had passed away during the year. I couldn’t face that — I was terrified of losing Cam. So guess what I did? I gave myself permission not to attend that session. And that was a fine approach because it was what I needed to do at the time.

I was afraid that the Symposium would be too much for me emotionally — three full days of staring into the face of meso. That fear seems laughable now. After all, hadn’t I been consumed for months doing exactly that? Through research, doctor visits, tests, and surgery, I’d been relentlessly staring down the beast.

Rather than being overwhelming, the Symposium was a tremendous relief. Admittedly, there was a lot of information and new faces and ideas to take in, but I ultimately found myself surrounded by people equally passionate about finding answers to this disease.

It was a relief to hear researchers present their findings. Even if I didn’t follow all the science, I understood enough, and I was grateful that the researchers could see my pleading eyes in the audience. I’m glad that I sat next to my husband, squeezing his hand, and helped to put a face to the need for more research.

It was a relief to attend the session for caregivers and hear from a panel that helped me feel connected. It was a relief to ask my toughest questions to that group and gain their wisdom and support.

It was a relief to approach a brilliant researcher after her presentation and ask a follow-up question specific to Cam’s recovery. I was able to pick the brains of every other doctor I could catch.

It was a relief to hear from dedicated and passionate fundraisers and learn how I can help contribute to the effort to find a cure.

As the Symposium was winding down, it was a wonderful relief to attend the closing celebration. At this annual dinner, I listened to Cam optimistically talk about his journey and perspective, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

In the year since the Symposium, when I feel fear creeping in, one of the things that keeps me grounded is remembering the network of support I built by attending. Even though Cam and I were part of the Meso Foundation’s online community prior to the Symposium, nothing can compare to actually meeting others who “get it.”

At this year’s Symposium, I can’t wait for a fresh infusion of information, friends, and hope. Fear doesn’t stand a chance.

Dr. Ira Pastan of National Cancer Institute to Speak at Mesothelioma Symposium

Dr. Ira PastanThe Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation announced that Dr. Ira Pastan, the Head of the National Cancer Institute’s Molecular Biology Section, will be the keynote speaker during its 11th annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, taking place on March 5-7 in the Washington, DC metro area.

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) February 28, 2014

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation announced that Dr. Ira Pastan, the Head of the National Cancer Institute’s Molecular Biology Section, will be the keynote speaker during its 11th annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, taking place on March 5-7 in the Washington, DC metro area.

Dr. Pastan is a world-renowned scientist known for his work in cancer research. Along with colleague Mark Willingham, he discovered mesothelin, a protein that is over-expressed in mesothelioma, as well as certain other cancers. This discovery has made it possible to develop an immunotoxin, SS1P, which targets the mesothelin antigen. SS1P has shown much promise in clinical trials by producing major tumor regressions lasting up to two years.

“It is an honor to have Dr. Pastan, one of those most imminent cancer researchers in this nation, joining us at our International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma,” said Mary Hesdorffer, NP, the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

“Hearing about his promising work directly from Dr. Pastan will be a very inspiring experience for the mesothelioma patients in attendance, as well as others interested in curing mesothelioma,” she added.

Dr. Pastan will speak to the Symposium audience on Thursday, March 6 at 9:15 AM. The program will also be broadcast live on the web at http://www.curemeso.org/symposium.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. Approximately 3,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year and an estimated one-third were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards.

ABOUT THE MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $8.7 million to research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

Live Broadcast of Mesothelioma Conference for Patients and Family Members

International Symposium on Malignant MesotheliomaThe Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation will provide an online live broadcast of its annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma on March 6-7

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) February 27, 2014

On March 6-7, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) will make available a free-of-charge live broadcast of its 11th International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. The Symposium is a unique event that covers important treatment information and research advances presented by mesothelioma experts. The Meso Foundation understands that many mesothelioma patients are unable to travel for health reasons, so to ensure the community can still access this life-saving information, live video coverage of most session will be available through the Meso Foundation’s website.

The free live stream is a real-time broadcast of the Thursday and Friday sessions of the Symposium. Only a computer (or smart phone/device) and an internet connection are needed to access the live stream, which will be available athttp://www.curemeso.org/symposium. The same webpage also contains the full agenda of the event.

Some of the topics covered during the Symposium and its live stream include pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, immunotherapy, post-surgical recovery, early detection, novel therapeutics, radiation oncology, chemotherapy: poison or antidote?, chemo brain, survivorship, nutrition, exercise, caregiver conversations, healing from loss of a loved one, getting involved, and an update on the work of the Meso Foundation.

The Symposium is geared to attendees from all walks of life, including patients and their families, advocates, medical professionals, and those who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma. The Symposium will be held from March 5-7 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria Virginia. Symposium events will include an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, science and community sessions, a Celebration of Life ceremony, an Awards Dinner, a Community Dinner featuring the Meso Fighters Band, and more. A full list of events, topics, and speakers can be found at http://www.curemeso.org/symposium.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. Approximately 3,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year and an estimated one-third were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards.

ABOUT THE MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $8.7 million to research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

Three Notre Dame Students to Attend International Mesothelioma Conference

Three Notre Dame student investigators to attend the 2014 Mesothelioma International SymposiumThe Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation applauds the University of Notre Dame for sending three student investigators to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma from March 5-7.

Three student investigators from the University of Notre Dame will attend the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma this year as part of a plan to finalize the “James A. ‘Jim’ Grogan Endowed Fund for Excellence” at the university. Jim Grogan is General President of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Union (formerly the Asbestos Workers) and is a friend of all who are trying to treat and cure mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The three students this year were selected from applications submitted to Dr. Deb Rotman at Notre Dame’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarship Engagement (CUSE) program. The students will be given a stipend that will cover all their housing and travel expenses and payment for the time spent in their summer scholarship. The CUSE Program at Notre Dame “creates opportunities for undergraduate research by connecting students to resources,” said Dr. Deb Rotman, the Director of the CUSE Program at Notre Dame, who can be contacted at rotman.1(at)nd(dot)edu.

“This is a unique opportunity to capture young students, with the hope that they will develop a lasting passion for mesothelioma clinical research, and a commitment to the patients with whom they will interact at the Symposium,” said the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Mary Hesdorffer, NP.

The Jim Grogan Endowment will be used to fund a student each year for a Summer Internship in asbestos related medical research: specifically, the early detection, effective treatment or cure of asbestos induced disease, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. These ‘Jim Grogan Fellows’ will hopefully help many researchers in years to come.

The Meso Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma will be held from March 5-7 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria Virginia. Symposium events will include an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, science and community sessions, a Celebration of Life ceremony, an Awards Dinner, a Community Dinner featuring the Meso Fighters Band, and more. A full list of events, topics, and speakers can be found at http://www.curemeso.org/symposium.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. Approximately 3,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year and an estimated one-third were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards.

About the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $8.7 million to research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

Recipient of the Outstanding Nurse Award Announced

Anne AlessandriniWe are excited to announce that the 2014 recipient of the Meso Foundation’s June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award is Anne Alessandrini of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

At the start of 2014, the Meso Foundation introduced the June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award, named in memory of two courageous women and nursing professionals who battled mesothelioma. As members of the Meso Foundation’s Board of Directors, June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar both cherished the meso community and worked diligently to raise awareness and research funds to win the war on mesothelioma. With this award, we honor an individual in the nursing profession who exhibits an optimistic, determined, and generous spirit reflective of both June and Jocelyn. You can learn more about the award, and June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar on our website.

Upon announcing the award, we began seeking a recipient through a nomination process. Meso Foundation community members submitted nominations for nurses who positively impact their lives. After receiving numerous nominations, we narrowed down the pool to six finalists. We then let the community decide on the winner through a voting process. We provided short biographies for each finalist and asked the community to vote for the nurse who they thought should receive the Outstanding Nurse Award. After receiving hundreds of votes, we had our winner: Anne Alessandrini.

Anne began her career in the nursing profession as a full-time nursing assistant in the Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while she put herself through nursing school full time on nights and weekends. In December of 2007, she graduated from Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School of Nursing and began her career working in cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. After a year and a half, Anne decided to return to the Thoracic ICU at Brigham and Women’s, and this is where she continues her career today. Aside from her work in the Thoracic ICU, Anne works with a Nursing Liaison group conducting follow-up appointments in the homes of mesothelioma patients. Anne enjoys working with this unique patient population and as she states, “I feel privileged to be allowed into peoples’ lives during such a vulnerable time.” Anne’s passion and positive attitude is evident as she continues, “Every day I try to bring a smile to my patients and their families. I enjoy the challenges of each and every day working in the Thoracic ICU. The best part is getting to know who people really are, not just a diagnosis or medical record number, but the actual person.” She also expresses the fulfilment she finds in “watching the patients progress knowing that even when they may doubt themselves, I can help push them to accomplish their goals.”

The June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award will be presented at the Meso Foundation’s Awards Dinner on March 6, 2014 as part of the Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. The Symposium will be held from March 5th through 7th in the Washington, DC metro area. For more details, visit our Symposium page.