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Lung Leavin’ Day – February 4, 2023

Lung Leavin’ Day is marked on the first Saturday in February and this year, it takes place on February 4. It was founded by the 36-year-old Heather Von St. James who had mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin tissue lining that covers the outer surface of internal organs. At her diagnosis, she was only given 15 months to live. After studying and consulting with a renowned mesothelioma surgeon, she underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy. Her sister made a joke about it being Lung Leavin’ Day on the day of her life-saving surgery, and the term stuck. Having an illness, especially cancer can be terrifying. Let’s support those who live with this fear and help them stand tall; remember to show gratitude for a life of good health.

History of Lung Leavin’ Day

In 2005, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. At that moment, her world fell apart. All she could think about was her family consisting of her three-month-old daughter and her husband, who she had just married. Naturally, she was paralyzed by fear at that moment. However, she never lost heart.

When faced with the reality that she may only have 15 months left to live if she did nothing, she decided to take action. She could either continue with her current treatment or undergo a new radical procedure. She then opted to have extrapleural pneumonectomy. Her left lung, pericardium, diaphragm, and pleura were all removed.

With the support of her family and friends, she was able to recover from the treatment in a matter of months. A year after her surgery, her husband and sister came up with a new custom. It entails writing out your anxieties and the things that hold you back on a plate and then throwing it into a bonfire, which evolved into writing on plates and breaking them. Both ways emphasize facing your concerns head-on.

Heather and her family have been commemorating it since then. Each year, they are thankful she has lived years more even though she was sentenced to live for 15 months.

Lung Leavin’ Day timeline

1996
Mesothelioma Help

Aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma.com has been presenting the most up-to-date medical information on mesothelioma.

2005
Diagnosis

Heather Von St. James is diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

2006
Lung Leavin’ Day

Heather and her family begin the ritual of writing their fears down on a plate and throwing them into a bonfire.

2016
10 Years

Lung Leavin’ Day’s 10th anniversary is celebrated.

Lung Leavin’ Day FAQs

How many different types of mesothelioma are there?

Four types: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular mesothelioma. More than 75% of mesothelioma cases are pleural.

Who are the people most susceptible to mesothelioma?

People who work with asbestos in industries such as construction, manufacturing, refining of chemicals, military, shipbuilding, firefighting, and power generation.

What is the most common treatment for mesothelioma?

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment.

Lung Leavin’ Day Activities

  1. Donate

    Donate to people with mesothelioma, either directly or by fundraising. Your donation can increase their chances of survival.

  2. Take action

    Try to conquer one of your fears by taking action toward even one thing you may be scared of. Remember you have a limited time here.

  3. Try the ritual

    Try writing down your fears and then using the bonfire or plate-breaking method. You can do it with your friends and family.

5 Interesting Facts Aِbout Mesothelioma

  1. Rare

    It is a rare cancer, accounting for fewer than 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States.

  2. Asbestos

    The most common cause is prolonged exposure to asbestos.

  3. Pleural mesothelioma

    Pleural mesothelioma develops in 2% to 10% of people with prolonged exposure to asbestos.

  4. By gender

    80% of diagnoses are in men.

  5. Symptoms

    Symptoms could take up to 20 to 50 years to develop after asbestos exposure.

Why We Love Lung Leavin’ Day

  1. It raises awareness

    This day raises awareness of the rare mesothelioma. More awareness means more donations and support.

  2. We face our fears

    This day allows us to smash all our worries and fears. This is important, especially if they aren’t about a life-threatening disease.

  3. Family and friends are included

    It serves as a reminder of how much the support of families and friends make a difference, with Heather’s family as an example. We love this!

Lung Leavin’ Day dates

YearDateDay
2022February 5Saturday
2023February 4Saturday
2024February 3Saturday
2025February 1Saturday
2026February 7Saturday

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