A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Cameron St. James about writing a blog post on Lung Leavin’ Day. His wife, Heather, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma 9 years ago. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, and Heather’s type was in her lungs. Her doctors told her she had 15 months to live. She’d just given birth to her daughter.
Mesothelioma is pretty horrific (not that other cancers aren’t). Most cases are related to asbestos exposure, though not always. It’s not always treatable, though early detection makes a big difference.
Remember that awful first job I had where I got fired? It was actually for a lawyer who worked on mesothelioma cases. I’d never heard of it before that job, but I learned a lot about it in a few short months. Enough to know that when doctors give a prognosis, they’re usually right. Which made Heather’s story even more inspiring.
As part of her treatment, one of Heather’s lungs was removed. She was terrified, so her sister declared surgery day Lung Leavin’ Day. Today, 9 years after her diagnosis, Heather is alive and well and mesothelioma-free. Take that, cancer!
To celebrate her survival, Heather, her family, and people around the world celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day on February 2nd. The day is all about overcoming fears. They get together, write their fears on a plate, and smash them in a fire. The event is used as a fundraiser, and to raise awareness of mesothelioma.
Those of you who’ve been around for a while know that part of my Fearless Creative journey was about getting to where I wanted to be – which includes overcoming some fears of my own. Thankfully, I haven’t had anything quite so terrifying as debilitating illness, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that scare the living daylights out of me.
So today, I’m smashing a plate too. My plate says….
I’m afraid of holding myself back.
What are you going to let go of on Lung Leavin’ Day?
Read more about Lung Leavin’ Day and Heather here!