Established in 2009, the Breath of Life Foundation is a collaborative effort of the Central States Insulation Association, the Central States Conference of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Union, and others that serve the insulation industry in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supporting efforts which may result in the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
The Breath of Life Foundation is funding monetary awards to interested residents, fellows, and researchers to address these goals, and on Nov. 30 the group presented a $60,000 to the Providence Health Foundation.
Accepting the check, St. John Providence Health System Vice President of Research Dr. David Svinarich said "we express our thanks on behalf of Dr. Harbut, and all the people who conduct research in this area of lung disease. These donations allow us to continue the vital work of conducting research and disseminating information to find people we can help." Dr. Michael Harbut is a leading researcher in asbestos-related diseases.
While the Heat and Frost Insulators union and their contractors have taken the lead role in holding fundraisers to support research in mesothelioma and other occupational lung diseases, all workers in all the trades had been exposed to asbestos fibers before their use was phased out of building materials beginning in the 1970s.
"This is a disease that affects all the trades, including family members," said Heat and Frost Insulators International Union Secretary-Treasurer Greg Revard. Wives of construction workers have been known to acquire asbestosis simply by washing their husband's work clothes. "We're ramping up the screening of workers who were exposed to asbestos, and usually they tell you that they had no idea they have it. Now, early detection screening is key to long-term treatment."
The Breath of Life Foundation has helped to fund a Tissue Bank at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, which gathers high quality, asbestos-related-tumor tissue specimens and fluid samples, in order to support research that either aims to better understand the mechanisms of asbestos-induced cancer, or aims to develop interventions and cures for asbestos-related cancers.
If you suspect you were exposed to asbestos, go to www.breathoflifefoundation.net for more information on lung-related diseases, potential screening and possible treatment options.
A $60,000 CHECK from the Breath of Life Foundation was presented Nov. 30 to the Providence Health Foundation, to further research and other activity in the area of prevention, detection, treatment and cure of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Behind the big check (l-r) are Providence Hospital President Dr. Michael Wiemann, Providence Health Foundation President Susan Burns, St. John Providence Health System Vice President of Research Dr. David Svinarich, Heat and Frost Insulators International Union Secretary-Treasurer Greg Revard, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 47 Business Manager Craig (Skip) Grigonis, Funds Attorney John Tesija, Asbestos Abatement Workers Local 207 Business Manager Dan Somenauer, Gribbins Insulation President Jim Gribbins, accountant Chris Scott of Bultynck and Co., and Insulators Local 80, (WV) Business Manager Steve Keller.