The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a national organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma, is giving comedian Quincy Jones a standing ovation for raising awareness of the disease through his own personal fight and his recent one-hour HBO special that aired June 2.
Jones, 32, a mesothelioma patient and aspiring comedian, became a viral sensation after appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March. Diagnosed with stage-four mesothelioma cancer in 2015, doctors told him he would live only one year.
Mesothelioma cancer attacks the lining of organs, like the lungs, heart, or in Jones’ case, the abdomen. Faced with the sudden news, Jones began immediately to make his mark in the world through comedy and made it his life ambition to tape one-hour show before his death.
With help from DeGeneres, Jones raised the money he needed to produce the show and HBO agreed to air it.
“Once his Kickstarter campaign went viral and news outlets began coverage of his feat, the media couldn’t get enough,” said Maja Belamaric, director of communications for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, in a press release. “Suddenly, mesothelioma was being talked about in the news. This kind of attention is very useful because it allows us the opportunity to educate the public about this cancer.”
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. The aggressive cancer comes with a poor prognosis – the five-year survival rate is a mere 10%.
But the foundation’s Executive Director Mary Hesdorffer said individual survival expectations can be better patients who seek specialized treatment or participate in clinical trials: “Though mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer, it does not mean that there are not some patients who are successfully treated and go on to live good lives without disease or actually live good lives with disease.”
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation provides patient support services and education, peer-reviewed scientific research, and it advocates for increased federal funding for more research. To date, the foundation has raised more than $9.4 million.