Heather Von St. James, a wife and mother, undertook a courageous battle with mesothelioma cancer at the young age of 36. Read about her story and the message of hope that it brings.
Heather Von St. James
Today, Heather Von St. James shares her message of hope and survival with mesothelioma victims around the world. It was only five years ago, at the age of 36, and three months after giving birth to a daughter, Lily Rose, that Heather received the news that she had mesothelioma, a type of asbestos cancer. The news was devastating for both Heather and her husband, Cameron, but together, with tremendous faith, hope and Heather's iron will to live, they bravely evaluated available treatment options with her doctors. After learning that the conventional treatment protocols consisting of chemotherapy and radiation would give Heather five years to live at best, they were open to considering a much riskier option that involved the removal of Heather's lung, pericardium and diaphragm. This groundbreaking procedure, called extrapleural pneumonectomy, had recently been developed by Dr. David Sugarbaker. Although this procedure possessed a fair amount of risk, it carried a more favorable prognosis and promise for a greater life expectancy. The young couple courageously decided to take the riskier route. On February 2, 2006 Heather had the surgery and received chemotherapy for several months following the procedure. Today she is joyfully alive, deeply grateful and excited to share her personal story of hope and inspiration with mesothelioma patients everywhere.