Julie Gundlach, a 39-year-old mother from St. Louis who has lived with mesothelioma since her diagnosis in 2006, will be awarded The Alan Reinstein Award at an upcoming Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization conference for her “courageous commitment to educate, advocate for, and support patients and families impacted by asbestos-related diseases.”
The award – which is named after the Alan Reinstein, the Co-Founder/CEO of ADAO who passed away from mesothelioma – will be given to Gundlach at the organization’s 7th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference, Asbestos: Impact on Public Heath, Environment, and the Economy. The event will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center from April 1 to April 3.
Gundlach learned of her illness in 2006 when, following the removal of a small cantaloupe-sized tumor from her pelvic area worried that she may have ovarian cancer, doctors performed additional tests that revealed she was suffering from mesothelioma instead.
“It was made clear that the treatment was to prolong my prognosis – not to cure me,” said Gundlach. “I was told to see a lawyer and to get my affairs ‘in order.’”
“While my doctors didn’t say, ‘You will die,’ the implication was clear. More than anything, I want to live,” she added. “And even though some days it feels impossible to live, laugh and love as fully as I am able to, I will never give up hoping for a cure.”
In addition to continuing to care for her two children, Gundlach also used the diagnosis as a reason to become more involved in the anti-asbestos movement. She began holding many activities and learning experiences around St. Louis to help raise awareness regarding mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure.
As the years have passed, Gundlach’s work has seemed to pay off. A petition of hers for politicians in Washington that called for laws banning manufacturing companies from using asbestos in their products was signed by 1,000 people at a recent Earth Day event.
While she continues to battle mesothelioma, Gundlach said she has three wishes that she would like to see come true: Save her own life and continue to be able to raise her children, see a cure for mesothelioma finally become a reality, and help Washington D.C institute a complete ban on asbestos.
For those receiving mesothelioma treatment who have previously worked in a profession where you were regularly exposed to high amounts of asbestos, there may be reason to speak with a mesothelioma attorney regarding a possible lawsuit. Contact us for a free consultation to see if a mesothelioma law firm can help to get you a monetary asbestos settlement from a former employer who may be at fault for an asbestos-related illness.