This fund was established in 2002 by his wife, Patricia Harahan to provide financial support for charitable purposes related to the research and awareness of mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses.
Barney was diagnosed on December 27, 1999, at only 45 years old, with a cancer called malignant mesothelioma. There is no cure. The family was shocked beyond belief that someone could die from breathing asbestos fibers in the year 2000. In fact, doctors suggested Barney can and should have surgery and keep hope for a cure since he was young and otherwise in excellent physical condition. They know now that anyone who is diagnosed with mesothelioma will die of the
disease in an average time of less than one year.
Barney opted to remove the sheetlike tumors that were squeezing his organs and causing intense pain with surgeries and radiation at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Barney only lived for 195 days. Devastated, but accepting Barney’s death as a final relief of the intense physical and mental pain, his wife Pat and children BJ, Joe and Trisha tearfully kissed him and silently promised to help others avoid this pain.
Most of us have never heard of mesothelioma and unfortunately most of the medical community does not recognize symptoms of asbestos exposure. The fund focuses on aggressive research, a registry to track the disease, improving medical knowledge and legislature to ban asbestos which is particularly difficult due to a strong lobby that continues to kill a ban of the fiber. Most of us believe asbestos was banned in the United States. But, it was not banned and asbestos is being
imported more today than two years ago.
The Barney Harahan family supported the research of Dr. Daniel Sterman at U of Penn in 2002, will join with Pittsburgh mesothelioma widows to support a fundraiser in September, 2003. In June of this summer the family has come together to further the mission of the fund. Tim Broadhurst raised over $3,000 for the fund when he ran on June 20th in the Media 5-Miler. Tim and Barney’s youngest sister Katie, raised the funds through sponsorship of his run. Other family members in the race were Barney’s son, Joseph, sister MaryEllen, nephews Tom, Jon, Mike, brother Jack, and Tim’s brothers Kevin and Danny. The runners and the whole family of cheering section wore the family printed t-shirt that reads front and back, Support the Bill to Ban Asbestos and BREATHING Asbestos Causes Cancer. The group ran in memory of Barney and to alert others about the tragedy of asbestos.
In conjunction with the run Barney’s daughter, Trisha graphed postcards and with the family help distributed these to Pennsylvania residents to sign and send to our Senators urging support of The Bill to Ban Asbestos. The Harahan family asks that you please send a letter to Senator Specter and Senator Santorum to tell them you strongly support the Bill to Ban Asbestos in America. The bill was recently introduced by Senator Patty Murray, Washington whom has been a spokesperson for those who have died of exposure to asbestos. Your support is truly appreciated especially by those too physically weak to speak.
For more information about asbestos cancer and disease, feel free to contact the family at firstname.lastname@example.org