To the Editor:
Since September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, the headline in the August 17, 2016 Advantage News, “Oktoberfest to raise funds for Mesothelioma research” to occur on September 17, 2016 caught my eye immediately. As a lifetime resident of Edwardsville, I have an eye out for the goings on around town. This piqued my interest having worked for a lawyer and then the State’s Attorney’s Office a couple of decades ago, I was looking for a link other than lawyers and the courts to make mesothelioma research of great interest here.
Two local businesses, Global Brew Tap House and Gori Julian & Associates are collaborating to sponsor the event for a second year; I must have missed it last year. I was immediately disheartened to see that the proceeds would go to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. I can see the law firm’s interest in MARF.
First let me say I have no problem with MARF, however, the most mesothelioma has to do in Edwardsville is the law suits in the courts of Madison County. Research shows over 98 percent of the mesothelioma cases in the Madison County, Illinois originate with plaintiffs outside Madison County as well as 95 percent of the same plaintiff pool originating outside the state of Illinois.
Much has been made of the way lawyers from all over the country flock to Madison County, Illinois to file asbestos cases, so much the moniker Judicial Hellhole was hung on Madison County Courts several years ago by a watchdog group.
Next, I would like to applaud the support that Gori Julian & Associates gives to many of the local charities and civic activities within this community.
Gori Julian & Associates is the second largest law firm in the United States handling mesothelioma lawsuits with offices in Edwardsville, California, Louisiana, Chicago, and New York. However, my radar spiked that mesothelioma does not directly affect the average Edwardsville citizen.
As much as I would love the trip to Germany, if I had the $15 for a raffle ticket, I would rather my money support something to do with Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month rather than something less local as in MARF. I see by Paint the Town Gold’s web page that Gori Julian was a 2015 Family level supporter of Paint the Town Gold, a local group raising money for pediatric cancers to St. Baldrick’s and the Jason Mott Foundation.
In keeping with pediatric cancer, in Edwardsville, there is also Whitley’s Wishes, Inc., a local not-for-profit focusing specifically on the pediatric brain tumor DIPG as well as working in the community.
I felt compelled to speak out as there are so many not-for-profit entities needing our research dollars and if you are like me, the dollars are limited. When I weigh pros and cons, it steers my consideration to which one first affects those closest to me and secondly needs my dollars the most.
I know the answer for myself; mesothelioma isn’t on my long list of charities for consideration.