Trumka sent this message to working family activists:
Tom Ward’s hardest memory to live with was the day his father came home from what would be his last day of work. His father barely made it through the door, fell to the floor and, between tears, said, “I can’t do it anymore.”
The silicosis Tom’s father had been diagnosed with five years earlier—after being exposed to cancer-causing silica dust, working as a sandblaster—had finally caught up to him. Later that year, Tom’s father suffocated to death from his disease. Tom was only 13 years old but has never forgotten the pain is father and family went through.