MesotheliomaHelp.org is proud to award a nursing student from Albany State University in Georgia with the $1,250 second-place prize as part of the organization’s annual Jan Egerton & Don Smitley Mesothelioma Scholarship contest. Kelley Ann McGill, of Atlanta, was one of four students from across the nation to earn a scholarship in this year’s essay contest.
In her essay, Kelley shared the story of her grandfather, a former electrical engineer who had always prided himself on working hard to stay healthy. Unfortunately, her grandfather’s work environment was not always a healthy one, and over the course of his career, he was exposed to the deadly mineral asbestos. In November 2017, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 small-cell lung cancer.
Kelley became her grandfather’s caregiver during the day, helping with medication, food and all his other needs. She has seen firsthand the toll that asbestos diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma can take on a person and a family. And she knows how difficult it can be to keep fighting.
“Do not take your good days for granted,” she advises in her essay. “I celebrate every good day that I have with my grandfather, the days that he is fussing at me for not getting enough sleep, or the days that he is spirited enough to give my stepdad, uncle, or mom a hard time. Cherish every smile, every laugh, every hug, every kiss, and every soft spoken ‘I love you too.’”
Since her grandfather’s diagnosis, Kelley has worked hard to educate herself and others about asbestos and its effects on the body. Already a paramedic, she has decided to further her education and earn a degree in nursing so she can do more for patients like her grandfather. She plans to use the scholarship money toward this goal.
About the Scholarship Contest
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The Jan Egerton & Don Smitley Mesothelioma Scholarships are awarded each year to deserving students in universities and colleges throughout the United States. The scholarships are named after two respected mesothelioma warriors who put up a brave fight against the devastating asbestos cancer.
In total, $5,000 in scholarships was awarded this year to four deserving students. Out of dozens of outstanding entries, the winners were selected based on the well-researched and heartfelt essays they submitted.
The MesotheliomaHelp.org scholarships are generously funded by the nationally mesothelioma lawyers of Belluck & Fox, LLP.
“We are proud to support these deserving college students in their mission to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos and its long-term health effects,” Belluck & Fox managing partner Joseph Belluck explained. “As a law firm focused on fighting for those harmed by asbestos, we know how important it is to warn people about exposure, and we appreciate these students for sharing their personal stories and insights.”
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Cancer
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that has been shown to cause deadly diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. For many decades, asbestos was commonly used in thousands of industrial, building and household products. Even today, despite being a known carcinogen, asbestos is not banned in the United States.
People were typically exposed to asbestos at work or during their time in the military. Some were exposed to asbestos in their homes.
Mesothelioma and lung cancer develop when microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled and lodge in the lining of the chest wall and lungs or in the lungs themselves. Cancer can develop decades after a person was exposed to asbestos, and it is typically diagnosed in the later stages.
MesotheliomaHelp.org is a comprehensive resource for individuals and families who are coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis. The site connects patients and caregivers with knowledgeable medical providers, respected legal professionals and the most up-to-date information on treatment developments. Visit MesotheliomaHelp.org now to learn more about the disease.