When we took on the asbestos case of Paul Zygielbaum, a Santa Rosa, CA engineer, 10 years ago we worked hard as we always do to race against time. Zygielbaum was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and the prognosis wasn’t good.
We resolved Paul’s asbestos case. Paul and his wife Michelle generously have used some of the asbestos case settlement proceeds that we achieved for them to join with our firm’s foundation’s efforts in funding mesothelioma research. But Paul is a winner in another important way. Paul continues to survive with mesothelioma.
It hasn’t been easy. He’s had four surgeries in the last ten years. But since resolving his asbestos case, Paul has fought for more than his life. He has become an outspoken advocate for banning asbestos in the U.S. These efforts in spite of his continued illness make Paul a true winner in our eyes.
We are proud that others applaud Paul’s efforts as well. He was just featured in a major news article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article states:
He is a warrior — not just against his own cancer, but against the asbestos industry that gave it to him.
And he’s doing it while battling mesothelioma, an almost universally fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
“I’m having a little trouble right now with an inoperable tumor behind my liver,” he said matter of factly.
“This life has chosen me,” said Zygielbaum, 64. “There is no going back.”
The article goes on to review the struggle over the past decades to get Congress to ban asbestos. I myself accompanied Paul to Washington D.C. in 2006 to urge Congress to make asbestos illegal. But the industry’s profit motive and control over Congress was too powerful to get the legislation through. This is shocking in light of the fact that 60 other countries have banned asbestos and that asbestos continues to kill 10,000 Americans each year.
Although the current outlook for passing an asbestos ban with the new Congress is bleak, Paul remains upbeat.
He believes in having goals to strive for, and so he’s booked a ticket with XCOR Aerospace, a space flight company, for a coming space flight.
“I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to seeing asbestos banned.”