Mesothelioma Survival Stories: Real-Life Inspirations

Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, is caused by exposure to asbestos. This disease has no cure, and its treatment options depend on the stage and location of the cancer. It can be a difficult diagnosis to handle, but there is hope. In this article, we will share some real-life inspirations of mesothelioma survival stories that can give hope to those who are fighting this cancer and their families.

1. Heather Von St. James

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 36. Her diagnosis came just three months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily Rose. Heather was told she had 15 months to live and was devastated. She underwent a risky surgical procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy and intense chemotherapy and radiation. Now, Heather is an eleven-year mesothelioma survivor and advocates for mesothelioma awareness and bans on asbestos.

2. Paul Kraus

Paul Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1997. He was told he had only a few months to live, but he did not give up. He changed his diet, started practicing meditation, and researched natural therapies. Paul has been in remission for over 20 years and credits his healthy lifestyle choices for his long survival. He has written a book called "Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient's Guide."

3. Julie Gundlach

Julie Gundlach was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 46 and was given only six months to live. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy and decided to take part in a clinical trial for a new immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab. After just three infusions of pembrolizumab, Julie's scans showed her tumors had disappeared. She has been cancer-free for over two years and credits the clinical trial and her doctors for saving her life.

4. Cameron Von St. James

Cameron Von St. James is Heather's husband and caregiver. When Heather was diagnosed, Cameron quit his job to care for her full-time and to be with their newborn daughter. He co-founded the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance to raise awareness and support for mesothelioma patients and their families. Cameron is now an advocate for caregivers and writes about his experiences as a caregiver in his blog.

5. Jill Vaughn

Jill Vaughn was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at age 63. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation but was still left with a few tumors. She decided to try photodynamic therapy, a treatment that combines a photosensitizing agent with light, which kills cancer cells. Jill's tumors disappeared, and she has been cancer-free for over seven years. She credits her faith, positive attitude, and supportive family and friends for her survival.

6. Mavis Nye

Mavis Nye was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and was given just three months to live. She underwent chemotherapy and had two surgeries, but her tumors kept growing. She decided to try a new immunotherapy treatment called T-cell therapy. Mavis was one of the first mesothelioma patients to receive this treatment and has been in remission for over five years. She is now an advocate for mesothelioma awareness and fundraising for mesothelioma research.


Mesothelioma is a challenging cancer to face, but it is not impossible to overcome. Survivors like Heather, Paul, Julie, Cameron, Jill, and Mavis prove that mesothelioma can be beaten with the right treatment and a positive attitude. Their inspiring stories give hope to those who are currently fighting mesothelioma and their families. We hope that these mesothelioma survival stories will inspire and motivate others to never give up and fight through the challenges.