An Opportunity to Spread Hope: Mesothelioma Awareness Advocate Larry Davis Joins Weitz & Luxenberg on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Orphan diseases are those ignored by the pharmaceutical industry. Drug manufacturers choose not to make treatments for them because they would be unprofitable.
Mesothelioma has been orphaned despite being a deadly and frightening disease that afflicts an estimated 3,000 people every year.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the Mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs. It is usually caused by exposure to Asbestos, which has been banned in 60 countries but not the US.
Mesothelioma and the regulation of asbestos too often get swept under the rug, and with them, the hopes of thousands of mesothelioma sufferers.
National Mesothelioma Awareness Day – Sept. 26 – provided an opportunity for Larry Davis and other mesothelioma awareness advocates to have their voices heard. The message ringing loud and clear?
Although there is no cure yet, there is hope.
Davis – himself suffering from mesothelioma – has served as a face of mesothelioma awareness and been instrumental raising funds for medical research. He recently was named the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's volunteer of the year at the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma.
Davis and his wife, Carol, flew to New York City Monday to visit the set of the Today Show, where they joined over 50 other mesothelioma victims and their families to help tell the nation about the ongoing tragedy of mesothelioma.
“Although the display today was positive, it just wasn’t enough. That is what we’re trying to change,” said Davis.
The next stop for Davis was a meeting with Weitz & Luxenberg founding partner Arthur Luxenberg. The discussion was about finding more effective ways of making mesothelioma more prominent in the thinking of all Americans.
“Affiliates like Weitz & Luxenberg help sponsor our road races, raising funds for research studies with the goal of promoting non-chemotherapy-based treatments,” Davis said.
Davis owns a hard-won reputation for tackling his disease with heedless abandon, foregoing traditional chemotherapy treatment and refusing to succumb emotionally to the disease. He was running 25 miles a week before surgery this summer and is aiming to get back out on the south Florida roads soon.
“Larry has spread hope for a cure, and given people cause to have a life worth hoping for,” said Mr. Luxenberg.
The Davises flew to New York the day after their dog won best-in-breed honors at The Volusha County Kennel Club competition in DeLand, Fla. And despite Davis experiencing severe pain after a July operation, he was there to meet Al Roker on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, with sights set on training for his next fundraising race, Feb. 12 in Boca Raton, Fla.
“Larry’s continued passion for running not only seems to defy modern medical thought, it shows other mesothelioma victims that a positive diagnosis can’t take away the things they love,” Luxenberg said.
Reflecting on this year’s Mesothelioma Day, now past, Davis said he believed that the spotlight shining on the disease was too small and too brief. Accordingly, he and Mr. Luxenberg have promised to bring hundreds more supporters to the Today Show for next year’s Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
There is a long way to go, and much hope to be spread. “It’s a great life,” said Davis, “why not fight for it?”