Grandfather Supporting Action Mesothelioma Day
A grandfather from St Neots is “determined to live life to the full” despite being diagnosed with the terminal asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
John Richards was told he was suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs associated with previous asbestos exposure, in August 2017. However, it hasn’t stopped him from continuing to enjoy his hobbies and interests, including motorcycling.
Following his diagnosis, John, 73, instructed specialist asbestos-disease related lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help determine how he developed mesothelioma and secure him funds towards his treatment.
After identifying John’s exposure, which took place during his five-year apprenticeship with the Central Electricity Generating Board at Hackney Power Station between 1962 and 1967, a cash settlement was awarded to him. This included the cost of private funded immunotherapy that had to be paid for as and when needed plus any future medical treatment which is not funded by the NHS and might be needed in the future.
Following the settlement, John is now joining with his legal team to share his story as part of this year’s Action Mesothelioma Day, which is on 5 July.
Expert Opinion“In my work I see so many people affected by their exposure to asbestos that occurred decades prior to them having any symptoms, and it is sad to see the suffering of the victims and their families.
“But John is not letting his diagnosis stop him from living his life and it is wonderful to hear that he is still enjoying his hobbies and motorcycling when he can. The settlement we successfully secured for him will also help by funding the care and support he requires. This will ensure that John will not face uncertainty over his access to medical treatment and he will benefit from whatever is needed.
“For us, Action Mesothelioma Day offers up the opportunity to raise awareness of the causes and signs of the disease and what can be done to help anyone affected by it.” Rosemary Giles - Partner
At the age of 16, John began a five-year apprenticeship with the Central Electricity Generating Board, during which he worked between the two stations at Hackney Power Station carrying out repairs and maintenance work. His told his legal team that his work involved knocking off asbestos lagging, which would crumble and release dust and fibres into the air which John was then exposed to.
John’s apprenticeship was completed in 1967. He first noticed he was becoming short of breath several decades later in early 2017. After seeing his GP, he was referred to Hinchingbrooke Hospital for an x-ray which showed fluid on his lungs. John underwent further tests at Papworth Hospital, and the results confirmed that he had mesothelioma.
Following his diagnosis, John was given chemotherapy and non-NHS funded immunotherapy at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which involves boosting the body’s natural defences in an attempt to fight the cancer.
John is a father of four and has four grandchildren. He retired in 2011 but still worked part time in a garden centre until his diagnosis.
John said: “Finding out I had mesothelioma was a huge shock and deeply upsetting for me, my partner Lynn, my family and friends but I decided with their support I wasn’t going to give up easily.
“I’m determined to live life to the full and continue to carry on with my interests and hobbies for as long as I am able. I go out for a ride with my local motorcycle club at least once a week, and I have attended the Papworth Mesothelioma Social Group a few times where I meet other people going through the same difficulties as me.
“I am so thankful to Irwin Mitchell for helping to get me funding for my treatment otherwise I would not have been able to benefit from the private treatment of the Immunotherapy trial.
“I am also extremely grateful for the treatment I have received from the team at Woodlands, Hinchingbrooke Hospital and I hope to inspire others to make the most of their lives no matter what is thrown their way.”
Action Mesothelioma Day is 5 July and campaigns to raise awareness of the incurable disease, remember those affected by it and help fund research into finding a cure.