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Lungleavin Day: A Celebration of Life and Facing Your Fears

This week, I was approached by an amazing woman, Heather Von St. James, and asked to write a small post to help spread the word about Lungleavin Day, a holiday she created after suffering from Mesothelioma. Actually, Heather asked if I would write a post about inspiration and link to her article about Lungleavin Day, but frankly, writing about Heather, her battle with cancer, and the message behind Lungleavin Day is inspiration in itself.

For those of you who are not aware, Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, which kills 90-95% of those who are diagnosed with it. Heather was diagnosed 7 years ago, when her daughter was only 3 ½ months old. I can only image the fear that must of struck Heather at this point in her life. But after reading her story, it’s clear that her strength far out weighed her fears. Today, Heather is cancer free and is using her experience in a positive way to help others. One of the ways Heather spreads her positivity, and strength is through Lungleavin Day.

Lungleavin Day, which takes place on February 2nd, marks the anniversary of Heather’s surgery where her entire left lung was removed. The thing that struck me the most about this holiday is that it is a celebration of life and facing your fears. It’s not a day of sadness, or loss, (which anyone could feel remembering such a difficult time), but of strength, love and moving forward!

Each year, Heather celebrates with nearly 100 loved ones. The main idea of Lungleavin Day is for everyone to fill a blank plate with their fears and smash it into a bonfire at her Lungleavin party. This act symbolizes people throwing their fears into the fire and releasing themselves from their fears.


Fear, is something I write about a lot here at With an Open Heart. It’s something everyone has, but many of us struggle to let go of. It takes trial and error, practice and patients, and mental strength. Research shows that physical steps, not just mental steps towards concurring fear can be very beneficial. Writing your fears down on a plate and smashing them is a fantastic way to say goodbye and let go. Sometimes, we need a little extra something to help us let go of our fears, especially ones that have such strong implications. I can only image the fun and laughter that takes place around that bonfire with family and friends, and broken plates everywhere. I’m sure for the kids, it’s probably the only time when smashing plates doesn’t result in a time-out either : ) What a blast!!

I encourage you to visit Heathers page, to read more about her journey, and to CELEBRATE Lungleavin Day this year. Write your fears down, and smash them! You never know what kind of liberation you’ll feel!

 “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” 

-Oprah Winfrey

For more information about Lungleavin Day, Heather, and how to give back to Mesothelioma research, click here. 

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