Most people don’t know if they are living with an invisible carcinogen–radioactive radon gas–in their homes, we surely didn’t until it was too late. We were stunned and numb when the oncologist told us that my husband, Joe, had lung cancer and that it would take his life. He also told us that radon is a known cause of lung cancer. Joe lived six weeks after his diagnosis, and it was one month after his death that I found that we had been living with over four times the EPA action level of radon in our home for 18 years. I had prayed for a reason to live and it didn’t take long to know that this was my reason.
After getting my home mitigated, I contacted my state representative with a proposal for a state law that would help protect people from purchasing a home with elevated levels of radon gas. Through networking and reaching out to many organizations and agencies, I met Dallas Jones of American Association of Radon Scientists who drafted the bill that was passed unanimously in the state of Illinois: the Radon Awareness Act! I devoted the year after Joe passed to educating all of the Illinois legislators about the danger of radon gas exposure. Over 50% of home buyers in IL are now testing their home for radon at the time of purchase. Other states have copied this law. My husband’s legacy is helping save lives.
Many thanks are owed to my state representative who listened to me with compassion and concern, the people of our state, my friend Dallas Jones and my Lord for giving me the courage to go forward.