Vida Hargrett, a contestant for the 2016 Mrs. Florida International Pageant, is using her newfound popularity to give her the platform to speak out on mesothelioma, an aggressive, life-threatening illness that’s still considered rare in the medical world.
Hargrett’s mother-in-law, Patricia Hargrett, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2012. Peritoneal mesothelioma is not as common as pleural mesothelioma, but it can be just as deadly as the cancer attacks the body’s abdominal lining. Patricia Hargrett’s diagnosis shocked her entire family, but her daughter-in-law states that she’s starting a new campaign on the disease, in hopes to bring awareness to others.
“I’m not afraid to speak up and speak out. And this is a cause worth fighting for. I’ll take this battle around the world if I can. When she was first diagnosed, I knew nothing about mesothelioma. I couldn’t even pronounce the word. But it lit a fire under me. And I realized this is a chance to really make a difference in the world. It was an emotion I had never felt before.”
The 30-year-old beauty pageant contestant plans to partner up with asbestos awareness organizations in order to raise money and awareness for mesothelioma. She’s been traveling the state of Florida, spreading information on how life-threatening asbestos exposure is, as well as how asbestos-related illnesses still do not have a cure.
“It’s all about raising awareness and educating people about mesothelioma. You just don’t hear enough about it. I guess not enough lives have been taken for this disease to get the attention it should.”
So far, Hargrett has made her way to the Tallahassee to speak out on mesothelioma. Last year, she convinced the basketball team Miami Heat to hold a Spring charity event for mesothelioma. Furthermore, she’s currently communicating with the NFL football team, Miami Dolphins, and basketball team, Orlando Magic.
Hargrett wants to learn as much as she can about mesothelioma. She recently went on a guided tour at Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She met up with renowned physicians and informed them about her mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma. Additionally, she’s been talking to the mayor of Pompano Beach, Florida, hoping he will help approve a future mesothelioma awareness day.
Hargrett contributes her success to joining an international beauty pageant. She feels if it wasn’t for her popularity in the pageant, many doors would have been shut in her face.
“These pageants open a lot of doors and allow you to advocate for good causes. And any opportunity to say and explain mesothelioma is an opportunity to save lives. So many people out there still are oblivious to what this is. I want to help change that.”
Hargrett also spends her time talking to children in school about mesothelioma awareness. She gets her inspiration from her mother-in-law, who was an educator for more than 25 years before she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims
If you suffer from an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma attorney in your area. If you have questions or need assistance, contact us at 800-694-4856.