The Canadian Cancer Society celebrated the life of a Saskatoon man with an award for his leadership in asbestos awareness.

Jesse Todd, Howard Willems' stepson, accepted his stepfather's posthumous award on Monday.

Until Willems' death in November from a rare form of asbestos-related cancer, the former building inspector advocated for an online registry of public buildings that contain asbestos. Willems' family has continued the fight and says receiving this award is overwhelming.

"This award is a great way of honouring Howard's work," Todd said. "There is one more thing we can do to help save the lives of so many more innocent victims. We can contact our MLAs and tell them that it's important to the people of Saskatchewan that they vote in favour of Bill 604."

Susan Holmes, the Canadian Cancer Society's division chair added  "The accomplishments already achieved on the asbestos issue and the ones to come are a direct result of Mr. Willems' work."

Willems is the first person to ever receive the society's leadership in public policy award.