A woman whose late husband loved to run and walk, before being diagnosed with the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, has donated money in his name to build a new walking trail in Malta, Ohio.
Karen Huffman lost her husband, Danny, to malignant mesothelioma in 2006. Until his diagnosis, he had enjoyed walking and running in the fresh air. In fact, it was during a two to three mile walk that he first experienced a symptom of mesothelioma, shortness of breath, which led to his diagnosis.
Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable cancer which is almost always linked to asbestos exposure. It affects the mesothelium, which is a membrane that lines the body’s organs and cavities, and which allows the organs to move by producing a special lubricating fluid. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs and chest cavity, is the most common type, but mesothelioma can also strike the heart and stomach, as well as the testicles. Asbestos, which was once widely used in the construction and manufacturing industries, and which remains in a wide range of commercial products, has been considered a toxic carcinogen for some time. Its use was phased out beginning in the 1970s, but it is still legally allowable in small percentages, and remains a hazard in standing buildings. Extreme caution must be taken when renovating or demolishing a building that may contain asbestos. Since it is microscopic and invisible to the human eye, it is impossible to determine whether a building or construction material contains asbestos through a visual inspection.
One of the most devastating aspects of mesothelioma is the fact that it usually does not manifest itself and become symptomatic until decades after the initial exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it has usually reached an advanced stage, making treatment difficult.
Huffman donated $3,000 to the Kiwanis-Jaycees Community Park, in order to help build a walking trail for the residents of Morgan County. “Danny would have been the first walker on the trail,” she said in a statement.