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Posted in Life, Parenting | 8 comments

She was given 15 months to live… just 3 months after having a baby

She was given 15 months to live… just 3 months after having a baby

Last week Cameron St James sent me an email. In 2005, at the age of 36, only three months after giving birth to their beautiful daughter Lily Rose, his wife Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and given less than a year and half to live.

Faced with the thought of raising his daughter alone, Cameron fought alongside Heather in her battle against the disease and refused to compromise on her treatment or doctors. Thankfully Heather recovered to raise Lily Rose alongside him.

Cameron asked me if I would help raise awareness of the disease and its causes by sharing his family’s story. I didn’t hesitate. As a Mother and a member of a family touched by cancer, as so many families are, I’m happy to raise awareness of the myriad of causes for this horrible disease in all its forms.

Here, in this short film, is Heather’s story…


8 things you may not know about asbestos and Mesothelioma

1. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is invisible to the naked eye. Once inhaled, these fibers may infect the protective lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity, or cardiac cavity.

2. No amount of exposure is safe. Just exposing yourself once could put you at risk for developing the disease later on in life. If you were exposed today, you may not be aware until 2043, as the average delay in symptoms is 30 – 40 years.

3. Asbestos was once used in more than 3,000 US consumer products. These include household items, some of which may still be in use. Some of these even include hair dryers, crock pots, and cigarette filters.

4. It can be found in many older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings. Homes built prior to the 1970’s, along with a myriad of public buildings still could potentially contain asbestos because of the materials used in the original construction.

5. Asbestos exposure is still the LEADING CAUSE of occupational cancer in the US. Even after 30 years since the United States government issued stern warnings about the continued use of asbestos, many workers who were once exposed are now at risk of developing the disease.

6. United States Veterans are at the greatest risk. For many years, asbestos was used across all branches of the military. Many veterans and shipyard workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos from several different applications. US Navy veterans who served during World War II and the Korean Conflict unfortunately have the highest incidences of asbestos related disease, including mesothelioma.

7. Asbestos is still not banned in the US. Federal law requires the newly manufactured products contain no more than 1% asbestos. Although its use is regulated, roughly 30 million pounds are still being used each year.

8. Mesothelioma can be caused by secondary exposure. Family members of those who were directly affected by on-the-job asbestos exposure may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma, just like Heather was.

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the US where Heather and her family live. But mesothelioma doesn’t care where you live or who you are. It affects people all over the World.

To find out more about mesothelioma visit The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. For UK specific information you can visit Mesothelioma UK.

Mesothelioma day 26 sept 2014


  1. Great post lovely. It’s so scary the dangerous substances we’re exposed to without realising it. In France every house built before 1997 has to have an asbestos check when it’s being sold, if asbestos is found the seller is responsible for getting rid of it. Such a terrible disease and how awful to find that out in the happiness and excitement of having a new baby x

    • That’s a sensible regulation – I wish every country had the same. Thanks for your lovely comment x

  2. A very moving post – so glad Heather’s story has had a happy ending.
    One of the women in the am-dram group I used to be involved in lost her
    partner to mesothelioma – it is a terrible disease and I had never heard
    of it before then. Well done for raising awareness.

    • I know, I wasn’t aware of it either, although I knew about the dangers of asbestos. It was the least I could do really…

  3. Well done on raising awareness on this awful disease x

    • Giving my blog over to Heather and her family was an easy decision x

  4. When we were house hunting here in the US we came across properties with asbestos sidings. ‘Safe’ when inert and undamaged, but no so much if you try and get rid of them. My online research showed that most people just leave them be as it’s safer than handling, with the inevitable breakage and particle release. It amazed me that there were not stricter rules in place… Needless to say we didn’t buy one. Terrible disease, well done for raising awareness x

    • I was amazed that there weren’t more restrictions in place in the U.S. – I hope that by handing over my blog to Heather and her family more people will become aware of mesothelioma and take precautions. Thanks for your comment Sara x


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