Walk raises awareness around silent killer

Walk for Truth

Chris Bolster / Powell River Peak
July 3, 2014 09:42 AM

More than 100 Powell River residents hit the streets last year in the Ford family’s annual Walk for Truth. The event is to raise awareness around the dangers of asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos is not something that only skilled trades labourers need worry about, according to the organizer of an event designed to raise awareness of the dangers of the commonly occurring mineral.

With the cost of housing increasing, many first-time home buyers are purchasing older homes with the idea of updating them. While they may not be able to do the installation work themselves, they get started on the demolition side of the job, said Tracy Ford, organizer of the third annual Walk for Truth — Asbestos Kills.

“We want people to know that before they rip anything up or tear anything down they should think twice,” she said adding that the mineral was widely used in building materials between 1950 to 1990. “Any home that was built or renovated prior to 1990 could have materials that contain asbestos inside.”

It is called the “silent killer” because of the long latency of the disease, upwards of 40 years. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and even one exposure could result in contracting an asbestos-related disease, particularly mesothelioma.

“Mesothelioma is not something that’s genetic,” Ford said. “If you prevent exposure, you prevent the illness. We think that raising awareness is critical.”

This year’s Walk for Truth is being organized by the Asbestos-related Research, Education & Advocacy (AREA) Fund, a grassroots charity started in B.C. by the Ford family, after Dave Ford, an electrician, died of mesothelioma in 2008.

The family wanted to do something positive in Dave’s memory, so they approached the Vancouver Foundation and worked with them to create a registered charitable fund in 2010 to support asbestos-related research, education and advocacy projects. Ford estimates that approximately $95,000 has been raised since the fund was initiated.

This year’s Walk for Truth will be held at Willingdon Beach’s Rotary Pavilion in Powell River next Saturday, July 12. Sign-in and registration will happen between 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

Those interested in the event can find more information and can register online at www.areafund.ca.

© Coast Reporter


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