Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio’

Multiple Texas companies cited by OSHA for asbestos violations, other hazards

24 Mar 2016 by under News

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Multiple Texas companies cited by OSHA for asbestos violations, other hazards   According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), five companies have been cited for failure to notify construction workers of and other hazards during a renovation. As a result, the companies are now faced with a total of $185,150 in fines. (more…)

Texas renovators fined for exposing workers to asbestos

4 Dec 2015 by under Legal, News

Asbestos danger sign 300x222 Texas renovators fined for exposing workers to asbestosThree , Texas-based commercial real estate renovators face paying a total of $112,000 in fines for exposing their workers to asbestos at a residential construction worksite in , federal safety regulators said. (more…)

Mesothelioma Awareness Day holds special meaning for Texas family

23 Sep 2009 by under Events, News, People

George and Betty Elo for WEB1 100x100 Mesothelioma Awareness Day holds special meaning for Texas family Awareness Day will always hold a special significance for Mary Elo. On August 15, 2009, her father passed away as a result of . That alone would mark the day for her, but even more significant, her Dad, George Elo, was just short of his 77th birthday – which is Sept. 26, the same day designated as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

Her father first started getting sick a couple of years ago, Mary recalls. He had a constant cough, and began losing weight and experiencing shortness of breath. He went to see his primary care physician, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. This happened several times, and always the story was the same. He even had fluid on his lungs, and he would have a short hospital stay, and even though the fluid was tested, there was no diagnosis and he would return home, Mary says.

“We had not heard of mesothelioma before he got his diagnosis,” Mary says. “The doctors didn’t seem to have any sense of urgency to find out what was going on. I began looking on the internet, and he had seven of the nine symptoms for mesothelioma.”

At that point, Mary insisted her father receive a biopsy to find out what was going on with the recurring fluid in his lungs. On June 2, 2009, they received the diagnosis – epithelioid pleural mesothelioma. By the time he was diagnosed, he was already in stage 4. Despite trying chemotherapy, he passed away by August 15.

“The system failed my father,” Mary says. “There was just no sense of urgency.”

A Navy veteran, her Dad was being treated at the VA medical center for an atrial fibrillation, and had been on coumadin for a few years. When he began having his bouts of pneumonia, the doctors at the VA called for an MRI / PET scan, and his May 12george elo with family1 300x264 Mesothelioma Awareness Day holds special meaning for Texas family test records indicated a suspicion for mesothelioma. But her parents couldn’t read the paperwork, and the primary care physicians somehow missed the notation, Mary says. He had several thoracenteses, yet never had a diagnosis for mesothelioma until Mary insisted on a biopsy nearly a month later after reading about meso online.

“I was the internet MD at this point,” she says. “It drove my father crazy,” she recalls. By the time he was diagnosed, her Dad, who was 6’1”, weighed only 132 pounds.

Despite the advanced state of his mesothelioma and the toll it had already taken on his body, Mary says her dad immediately began talking to the doctors about treatment options. “He went through this whole process wanting to fight it,” she says. “He did not give up until the very end, and was willing to do anything necessary. He was definitely a warrior.”

Even while his illness sapped his strength and breath, and his chemotherapy caused him physical pain, he barely let it show, Mary says. He was still the rock of the family, looking after his wife of 55 years, Betty, along with his five kids, Mary and her sisters Lisa, Linda and Midge, and their brother Billy; as well as 8 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, all of whom live in , spread out in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.

“He put a strong face on it, even though he was struggling to breathe every day,” Mary says.

Now, the family is working to raise awareness, hoping to help other families make the diagnosis earlier, and to prevent exposure to asbestos in the first place.

“It seems like after we found out about my Dad’s diagnosis, we heard more about mesothelioma. I was watching the news after my father’s diagnosis and they were talking about Libby, Montana. Speaking to two of my friends, I found that their fathers had died from meso, and one girl’s grandmother died of mesothelioma. A contractor right here in our building, his mother is living with meso and his father passed away as a result of meso. It seems like it’s all around me.”

Mary and her family are working on awareness efforts in their cities. Mary got Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell to sign a petition declaring Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the city, george elo with family 2 300x172 Mesothelioma Awareness Day holds special meaning for Texas familyand she is working with Texas State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr., whose father also died of mesothelioma, to create a proclamation in her father’s honor. Her goal is to get a permanent designation for Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the state of Texas.

Additionally, Mary is working with her local running clubs to establish a “Miles for Meso” event similar to the one that is taking place in Alton, Illinois, on Sept. 26 this year. She hopes to have that established and hold the inaugural race in time to celebrate Meso Awareness Day – and her Dad’s birthday – in 2010.

Cooking for the Cure benefits mesothelioma patient

22 May 2009 by under Events, People, Research/Treatment

shanna kurtz 21 100x100 Cooking for the Cure benefits mesothelioma patientLast week I shared the story of Shanna Kurtz, a 30-year-old woman in Texas who was diagnosed with peritoneal in 1999. She is battling the disease, and recently underwent a surgery to remove some tumors from her abdomen and her liver. She was in the hospital in , DC, for more than a month before finally returning home on May 7.

Shortly after her return, abdominal pain sent her back to the hospital. She was good enough to email me to let me know she had suffered from a condition called illeus, which is when the intestines become paralyzed. She stayed in the hospital in Texas for a few days until finally coming home again on May 13. She said she’s focusing on getting stronger and gaining weight, but is frustrated by the  setback after all her hard work to recover from her surgery.

You can check in on Shanna’s progress by reading her journal on the CaringBridge web site and email her some encouraging words at I know she’d really appreciate hearing from some folks in the meso community!

There was a fundraiser in her honor last weekend, and there’s an ongoing effort in Texas called “Cooking for the Cure” to help raise money for Shanna’s treatments.  Cheri Travis, who is one of the organizers of Cooking for the Cure, reports Shanna is scheduled for another surgery in August, so fund raising efforts continue.

Cooking for a Cure was started by Cheri and two other friends who like cooking, and wanted to use their interests and talents in the kitchen to raise money for Shanna. They gather at one person’s house and prepare food, which they distribute in exchange for donations.

“It’s really spread by word of mouth of people who buy our food,” Cheri explained in an email to me. “Plus, we have fun doing it and helping raise funds for our friend.”

The group is based near Victoria, Texas, so if you live in that area, check out this unique project!

Cheri said there also is another fund raising benefit in Shanna’s honor planned for September 18 in Victoria. I’ll let you know the details when I have them.

In the meantime, if you live near Victoria and would like to purchase food from Cooking for the Cure, you can email Cheri at

Or, if you would still like to make a donation to help with Shanna’s treatment, you can send it to:

Cooking for the Cure
17114 Eagle Hollow Drive
San Antonio, TX 78248