Stories of hope can be rare when talking about mesothelioma, even more
rare than the aggressive cancer itself, but they do exist, giving us pause,
that maybe we can fight this disease…and win. Jill Vaughn was one
of these stories. She was a long time cancer survivor before finally passing
away from mesothelioma this past month.
Jill was diagnosed with two different types of cancer between the 1970s
and 1980s before she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1996. Upon her
diagnosis she took to the internet to learn more about her disease. In 1996 there
simply wasn’t much information about mesothelioma out there, online
or elsewhere. Jill came across our firm’s website, which was unique
in that it shared detailed profiles of others with mesothelioma, their
stories and which treatment regimen they used. Jill found it difficult
to read about people’s struggles, but also helpful in determining
which path was right for her.
Jill traveled all over the country seeking the right medical treatment
for herself. She originally was set to undergo
surgery to remove her entire lung, but awoke to find that she still had both her
lungs. Jill’s surgeon told her that her cancer was too far advanced,
and that leaving the lung in would allow her to “die easier”.
Her surgeon then estimated she had six months to live.
The fact that she survived 18 years with mesothelioma is exemplary, she
didn’t waste that time either. Jill was a brave mesothelioma advocate,
sharing her own story to hopefully help others with mesothelioma, just
as she had found help reading other profiles. Jill not only helped mesothelioma
patients, but also volunteered for MD Anderson Network and Bloc Cancer
Center to give support to others with cancer.
Jill’s advice to others was, “Attitude is what it’s all
about, it’s your life preserver. So hang onto it very tight!”
Thank you Jill, for never giving up and for your fight as a true mesothelioma warrior.