Just days after a friend passed away from mesothelioma, Bob also began experiencing symptoms of the asbestos-related cancer. The anger he felt towards his situation became optimism as our asbestos compensation solicitors helped him access private medical treatment and ensure his family’s financial security.
Bob, a professional magician of twenty years, enjoys life with his family and his dog in North Yorkshire. His favourite magic trick is turning paper into money – a trick which audiences particularly seem to enjoy.
But his life changed in 2018. Bob learned that a good friend of his had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Nine months later, Bob’s friend died – five days before Bob began to recognise symptoms of the illness in himself.
After Bob told his GP that he’d had contact with asbestos at a previous job, things began to move very quickly. The following day, a chest x-ray confirmed that Bob had a pleural infection. This causes the lining of the lungs to become inflamed, and is an indication of possible mesothelioma.
A referral to a chest physician confirmed that Bob had the disease.
Breaking the news to his family was very difficult. He’d learned a lot about the condition from his friend’s experience with it and so knew what was ahead for him. There’s no current cure for the fatal disease and treatments simply aim to control the symptoms and prolong life where possible.
It was particularly hard breaking the news to his son – who was away working away from home at the time.
“When diagnosed, I did feel bitter,” says Bob. “I’d be leaving my family much earlier than I’d have hoped to, and my friends. And I was angry. The fact that it was caused because a company didn’t do what they were supposed to do and it left me in this position. So I wasn’t a happy guy.”
Bob knew that he could claim compensation for his condition, money which would help him seek further treatment which was only available through private providers.
Bob initially sought advice from the firm that had supported his friend. However, when matters were not progressing as he had hoped, his brother undertook some research into different law firms.
He felt that we came highly recommended and were a convenient option with an office close to home. He contacted Nicola Handley, an associate solicitor from our Leeds office specialising in mesothelioma claims, and visited her for an initial meeting.
“Nicola gave us great confidence,” Bob recounts. “There was a lot to do, which at the time was quite onerous as I was quite ill in the early months. But Nicola was always very supportive, worked through things with me. She’s been brilliant throughout and very, very caring to me and my family.
“I think we get on very well and I see her as a friend. She’s still working on my case and she’s just great.”
Bob’s treatment has been challenging. He began with a clinical trial at St James’ Hospital in Leeds. Bob believes this was a great help during the early stages of his care, particularly thanks to the medical staff who helped him remain optimistic. However, after the trial finished, a CT scan revealed that the cancer had progressed and he’d need more treatment.
Thankfully around the same time, we successfully negotiated a compensation settlement for Bob that would cover the private treatment which he’s been on ever since.
“By going private, it really does open up other options for you,” he says. “At the moment I’m on a drug that isn’t available on the NHS and - touch wood - it seems to be keeping the mesothelioma at bay.”
Bob remembers the relief and delight that came with the news of his successful compensation claim. Knowing that he had more treatment choices available, and that his family had financial security, made all the difference during a challenging time.
“Live your life to the full”
Since his compensation claim, Bob’s taken part in fundraising for Mesothelioma UK. His local group has completed bicycle rides and quizzes to raise money for people in Yorkshire who also have the condition. The charity has supported Bob throughout his journey, providing information and advice whenever he’s needed someone to talk to.
Bob emphasises how important the support from his family and friends was throughout his journey, describing how “my wife, son and brothers and sisters, as well as a lot of close friends, have rallied round to help me.” He’s grateful to feel fit and well, allowing him to continue going out and sharing experiences with the new friends he met during his treatment.
“If I could say one thing to Nicola,” Bob said: “I’d say thank you Nicola, you’ve been absolutely amazing. She’s become a good friend to me, and to my family. I’m so pleased that she’s still my solicitor and still working for me.
“Live your life to the full,” is Bob’s advice to other people in his situation. “Having cancer is not necessarily the end of the world. Get involved with good, positive people. I’m still here, still doing sport, taking the dog out, all those sort of things. Yeah, life’s good.”
Learn more about asbestos-related disease claims, or call 0370 1500 100 to speak to an advisor today.