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BWH_Invite3Saturday many of us attended the annual service “A Day of Hope and Remembrance” held by the International Mesothelioma Program at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. It was a beautiful spring day, sunny and clear, the perfect day on which to remember all the loved ones lost to mesothelioma. It is a day of joy and sadness. We are all sad remembering and thinking about the beautiful people gone because of this cruel preventable disease. Joyous because we are here, because we can join together to mourn, to commiserate, to remember, and to support the International Mesothelioma Program and their mission to make mesothelioma a treatable disease.

Mary Garrick gave a beautiful speech about her beloved husband Jacob and his two-year fight with mesothelioma. She recounted their first meeting with Dr. Bueno, and made us laugh in describing Dr. Bueno’s instruction that she could text him whenever she wanted – but only three sentences. When Dr. Bueno asked Jacob Garrick to participate in a clinical trial that might help improve treatment for other sufferers of mesothelioma, Mr. Garrick said yes immediately. He wanted to get well, but he also wanted to help others with this disease. He was well-known in the hospital for his Southern courtesy, and  she ended her speech with what he always said to his caregivers: Thank you, ma’am. Thank you, sir.

Jacob Garrick’s daughter Joni Brown then gave an a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace”. She prefaced the song by describing how her dad had always loved and supported her singing. She worried that she might cry while singing, but her performance left many in the audience wiping away tears. It was very moving.

Dr. Ralph Bueno, the director of the International Mesothelioma Program, gave an update on the progress the IMP has made in its research this year. The clinical trial that Mr. Garrick participated in, for example, produced valuable evidence to the program. The drug he was given reduced tumor size in 30% of the patients who were given the medication 10 or 21 days before surgery. The IMP’s work in sequencing the mesothelioma tumor genome will help them determine which patients will benefit most from this particular treatment.

The ceremony ended with a reading of the names of mesothelioma victims treated at Brigham & Women’s who lost their battle, as their family members came forward and placed a single white rose in vases up front. Luncheon was served and many left carrying the roses from the ceremony.

The International Mesothelioma Program was founded in 2012 and in the last 14 years has treated more than 2,000 patients suffering from mesothelioma. Their research focuses on multiple goals: supporting patients and families dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma; treating patients to extend their lives; and learning through cutting-edge research and data compilation the best methods of treating mesothelioma in each individual patient. The IMP hopes that someday mesothelioma will be considered a chronic disease like diabetes or osteoporosis; a disease that can be treated over the rest of the patient’s life.

We are proud to support the work of the International Mesothelioma Program. If you would like to donate to the IMP, please contact the Brigham & Women’s Hospital via this link, which gives you many ways to donate, including help in planning a fundraiser of your own.

As part of our commitment to the International Mesothelioma Project and their important mission, nine years ago Thornton Law Firm rehabbed a triple decker across the street from the hospital. Opened in July of 2008, the Thornton House provides an affordable place for mesothelioma patients and their families to stay during treatment at Brigham & Women’s. More than 1000 patients and family members have stayed there. The average visit is 19 days, but one family stayed for over 10 months. Patients, families, the housing coordinators, and other personnel from the hospital provide emotional and practical support through the grueling treatment process.

Thornton Law Firm is honored to represent mesothelioma victims and their families, as we have since we began working for people injured by exposure to asbestos in 1978. If you or a family member is diagnosed with mesothelioma, call on our compassionate and experienced mesothelioma lawyers for a free legal consultation by calling 888-632-0108 or by telling us your story online. We know how difficult this disease is to fight, and we will do everything we can to get your family the compensation you are entitled to, so you can concentrate on treatment and recovery.