MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION INC
July 11, 2009
In 2002, I was at what I thought was the peak of my life. I was a 52 year old nurse with a great career. I was weeks away from marrying the love of my life, and we had just bought our dream home together. I was physically active, an avid hiker, biker, snorkeler and free diver, and my fiancee and I looked forward to traveling the world together. My happiness was boundless.
The only problem was a nagging cold that I couldn't seem to get rid of - my doctor felt antibiotics would do the trick, but took a chest xray "just in case". That xray was the key to a nightmare whose name was malignant pleural mesothelioma, a lethal type of cancer.
My professional training, my doctors, and every thing I read on the Internet told me I was doomed to die within months - maybe a year if I was lucky. I have never felt so alone or so afraid, or so without hope. I could not stop crying. But then I found MARF - the Mesothelioma Foundation, and a small light began to shine in all the darkness that surrounded me. Here were people who gave me hope, information on treatment options that could help me, and put me in contact with other patients like myself. And they stayed with me, every step of the way, cheering me on and telling me not to give up.
That was over 7 years ago. It has not been an easy road to travel, but I have never had to travel it alone - not for an instant. My fiance stuck with me (and became my husband) and so did the people at MARF. The clinical information they provided never failed to help me identify cutting edge treatments that gave me a fighting chance to live. Their unwavering support and encouragement saw me through the rough spots. They buoyed my spirits by sharing both my highs and my lows with unconditional compassion.
Without this organization, I am certain I would have curled up into a terrified ball, given up, and died. I will never be able to adequately describe what they gave me: they gave me HOPE, the sweetest gift there is. They gave me back my life.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
The hope engendered in patients and families who thought they had no where to turn and no hope for survival. People literally say to me that MARF "saved their lives". I know this to be true and not hyperbole, as it happened to me as well!
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Try to make the public more aware of the risks that everyone faces of developing mesothelioma.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Communicating with other patients and families. Helping them helps me to grow.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Overwhelmingly dedicated and kind.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Help more people, maybe even help find a cure for mesothelioma.
Ways to make it better...
I had known about this organization earlier.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Increasing public awareness and finding funding in the current financial climate.
One thing I'd also say is that...
Thank you MARF for my life!
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I try to pay my debt to them forward by counseling other patients and families dealing with mesothelioma. I recently joined their Board of Directors as a reflection of my committment to their mission.