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Long-Term Mesothelioma Patient and Caregiver Couple Honored as 'Volunteer of the Year'
Date:3/30/2009

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One of the longest-term survivors of the vicious asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, and his wife were honored today by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation with the Foundation's annual Volunteer of the Year Award.

In July of 1998, in St. Charles, Missouri, then-42 year-old Craig Kozicki walked into his doctor's office with concern over a few digestive symptoms. Nine days later, he walked out of the doctor's office, having been told to get his affairs in order because he had only a few months left to live.

But instead of going home and preparing to die, Craig - with his wife Shelly - found their way to one of the few cancer centers at the time attempting to treat the disease. Over the next eleven years, Craig pushed the boundaries of mesothelioma treatment through experimental surgeries, chemotherapy cocktails and radiation. Contrary to the hopeless prognosis he was given, he was able to continue working, be a life partner to Shelly, and see his daughter grow up. Last December, Craig walked Emily - who was just 12 when he was diagnosed and is now 23, down the aisle.

Craig and Shelly also became pioneering advocates for other mesothelioma patients. They joined the Meso Foundation and used Craig's story as a long term survivor effectively treated by multi-modal therapy to inspire countless other patients to keep hope and pursue the latest treatments. One of these patients is Mary Jane Williams of Springfield, Ohio. After she was diagnosed in 2004 and told - just like Craig - to get her affairs in order because there was nothing that could be done, she found the Meso Foundation and then Craig. His refusal to take "no" for an answer gave Mary Jane the hope she needed to get through her protocols. She speaks for many when she says, "If it were not for Craig, I would not be alive today."

While Craig was fighting his battle th
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SOURCE Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
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