|Each year in November for the last five years I've written an article, e-mailed it to hundreds of newspapers across the nation, and hoped for publication--always sharing facts, figures, scientific studies, and comparisons. This year the message is not loaded with statistics; instead, just a simple message is imparted.
Five years ago, my husband Joe died from metastasized lung cancer. It was at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, Feb. 8, when Joe took his last breath; we had been at the hospital since Monday. So fortunate was I to have two wonderful friends who shared Joe's last night with me. Early in the evening, I relayed to my friends much of Joe's life experiences; even though he was unconscious due to the morphine drip for pain, I think I saw him laugh when I mentioned a funny happening in his life.
My friends left me at 5 a.m. that morning to return to work giving us sacred time alone with God. As his breathing became very shallow, he took his last breath. At the time of his death, it had begun snowing so softly and quietly; and a bright glow engulfed the hospital room much to my surprise. I knew Joe was with God, although it hurt terribly.
The simple message that is displayed in a sticker on the window of my car and Joe's Blazer is "Test for Radon, Save a Life." For 18 years we had lived in a home with the presence of high levels of radioactive gas without knowing it.
The American Medical Association, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization, the U. S. Public Health Service, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognize exposure to radioactive particulates as a leading cause of lung cancer mortality, taking the lives of 21,000 people annually.
If by chance you are behind me at a stop light or in a drive-thru, please heed the simple message, "Test for Radon, Save a Life," and take action if the level is elevated.
Commentary by Gloria Linnertz of Waterloo, IL, VP, Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR™)