It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear friend, Heather Nash. Heather’s husband Rod has requested that we make this announcement to our community and that we share this photograph of Heather.
Heather was a mesothelioma warrior, fighting the cancer through treatments and through activism, since 2010. She actively participated in raising awareness of mesothelioma and the immense need for funding for the research of this under-funded cancer. She also raised awareness of the importance of clinical trials and the role they play in the development of new treatments. She is known to our community through support groups and her attendance of our conferences, where she was often accompanied by her husband Rod and their two boys.
Our hearts are broken by this news, and our thoughts are with Heather’s family and friends. We will miss you deeply, dear Heather.
In 2015, Heather wrote an appeal for the Meso Foundation’s newsletter to encourage participation in clinical trials and funding for mesothelioma research. Here are her words:
My name is Heather Nash. I am 46 and I have pleural mesothelioma. I was diagnosed with meso in 2010. At the time, I chose to have a surgery that involved removing my left lung, diaphragm, and a portion of the pleural lining of the heart. In the following years, I had two recurrences which required additional surgeries. In November of 2013, I had some inoperable tumor growth, so I began chemotherapy. After completing 5 rounds of chemo with no shrinkage, I decided to look into clinical trials. I viewed the clinical trial as an opportunity to be involved in the meso community and to make a difference in research, advancement in treatment and eventually a cure, while at the same time, hopefully, managing my disease and extending my life. After much research and many discussions with my oncologist and Mary Hesdorffer (the executive director of the Meso Foundation), I enrolled in a clinical trial. I have been on the trial for one year, and so far I have had stable disease. I have had no side effects from the drug whatsoever. I feel really good and have a great quality of life! In fact, I have just celebrated five years as a survivor! For me, participating in a clinical trial has been one of the best decisions I have made since my diagnosis. It has given me a good quality of life, and the ability to not let this disease consume me. Rather than living my life in 8 week intervals, (the time between each scan) I am learning to take a deep breath, enjoy the day in front of me and worry about tomorrow when it gets here. I’m thankful for the resources the Meso Foundation provided in linking me to this clinical trial, and for the one-on-one support I received from Mary. The Meso Foundation is a partner in my fight against meso!