Mesothelioma Help is proud to help a future physician’s assistant in Minnesota achieve her education goal by awarding her $500 as part of the annual Jan Egerton & Don Smitley Mesothelioma Scholarship contest. Sheri Sanford, a student at Normandale Community College, was awarded the fourth-place prize in the cancer organization’s national essay contest this year.
In her essay, Sheri shared her inspiration for switching gears in her career ─ going from dreams of becoming a lawyer to pursuing a master’s degree as a physician’s assistant with a focus in oncology.
In 2016, Sheri’s uncle was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos. Her uncle had spent his life working in the construction industry, one of the high-risk fields for exposure. “I lost my uncle after he caught the cancer in a very advanced stage and he died in less than a year,” she explained in her essay.
Sheri’s experience inspired her to change career paths and go into medicine so she could help other cancer patients and their families. “My uncle is not just a simple statistic. He is much more than that and Stage IV Mesothelioma will not define him. The people diagnosed with mesothelioma are real loving people,” she wrote.
“Awareness about asbestos is extremely crucial for every individual to be knowledgeable of, to prevent this crippling disease or catch it in the early stages.”
Each year, about 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the chest cavity and lungs. The cancer is caused by exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers, which are inhaled and can lodge in the body.
For decades, asbestos was commonly used in construction, industrial and household materials. Although it is recognized as a known carcinogen, asbestos is still not banned in the United States.
Mesothelioma can develop 15 to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.
About the Scholarship Contest
The Jan Egerton & Don Smitley Mesothelioma Scholarships are named after two respected mesothelioma warriors who put up a brave fight against the devastating cancer. Four scholarships are awarded each year to deserving students in universities and colleges throughout the country.
In total, $5,000 in scholarships was awarded this year to four dedicated students. Out of dozens of impressive entries, the winners were selected based on the thoughtful and heartfelt essays they wrote.
The MesotheliomaHelp.org scholarship contest is generously funded by the nationally recognized asbestos law firm 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.”
Mesothelioma Help 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. Get directions to Mesothelioma Help now to learn more about mesothelioma.