Dad Donates Royalties From Cancer And Pisces To Cancer Research UK
An inspirational man has released a book charting his determination to survive asbestos-related cancer – seven years after being given his terminal diagnosis.
Mick May has penned and released Cancer and Pisces which charts the father-of-six’s life and his diagnosis-defying years of survival against mesothelioma. Intertwined with his love of fishing, the book also tells of the 61-year-old’s determination to seek justice for his asbestos exposure, that lead to the successful conclusion of one of the most complex cases his London legal team had ever brought.
Former city banker Mick was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a highly aggressive form of terminal cancer linked to exposure to asbestos, at the age of just 54 in May 2013. Conventional wisdom gave Mick, from west London a bleak prognosis of just months to live with no prospect of treatment to cure his illness. Following diagnosis, Mick instructed London based asbestos disease solicitors at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he came into contact with the substance.
Aged 22, Mick had joined the City investment bank, Kleinwort Benson, and worked in Fenchurch Street, London, for 20 years. After identifying that his asbestos exposure took place in the bank’s offices in the 1980s during extensive renovation work, Irwin Mitchell secured Mick a settlement in 2016.
The settlement allowed Mick to continue his life-prolonging treatment, including being the first mesothelioma patient to receive the skin cancer drug Vismodegib to treat his condition. The fact his tumour concerned the PTCH1 ‘hedgehog’ gene more commonly found in skin cancers was an opportunity to discover if it would work on an asbestos-related cancer too.
Joanne Jefferies is one of the asbestos-related disease specialists at Irwin Mitchell who represented Mick.
Expert Opinion“It was clear with no prior cases that Mick’s case was not going to be a straight-forward one. Yet after meeting him, it was clear to us all that he was a special man with a case that demanded huge care and attention.
“Mesothelioma is a horrible disease and its widespread use in decades previously has left behind a terrible legacy affecting far too many people. Mick’s diagnosis was particularly difficult for him to accept given the relatively young age at which he developed the cancer.
“It has been a real honour to help Mick to secure justice through the legal process and to witness his outstanding achievements and his amazing story of survival. It has not been an easy journey for Mick, as the book makes clear, but his story gives hope to mesothelioma victims. That people may be able to live a long and contented life with such a terminal disease is a message people need to hear and that the legal process can offer hope and answers in the wake of a terrible, unexpected diagnosis.” Joanne Jefferies - Partner
Mick had been feeling a bit out of breath in 2013 and following a visit to his GP, a chest X-ray revealed a cloudy area that further tests confirmed was mesothelioma. His wife, Jill, wept as the specialist told them not to look up the prognosis on the internet and together, they worried about how they would tell their six children of the shattering news.
Mick said: “The realisation following diagnosis comes in a cascade of emotion rather than a bombshell and when the doctor suggested my wife join us, saying something like ‘it’s often better on this sort of occasion’, you think, Good Lord, this must really be serious.
“The doctor didn’t beat about the bush and we deduced this was a lung cancer and a serious one. Each sentence of his was like a blow to my stomach. You anticipate even more devastating truths to come. I have always preferred not to think of it as a battle. The notion gives hope but I think we suffers have to get on with our lives as best we can.”
Mick and Jill had never heard of mesothelioma prior to his diagnosis and, having been advised by other lawyers that they were unable to help, Mick made contact with legal asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell, Joanne Jefferies.
Mick said: “I was told at the outset that my case would be a huge challenge with no similar cases from the building previously identified. Then I found out one of the most senior QC’s in the land had advised my case could not be pursued successfully.
“It is to the very great credit of my solicitors Joanne Jefferies and Ian Bailey that they disregarded this advice. They believed in me, invested in me and shared all the risks. I shall always be grateful for their commitment to the cause.
Mick’s main aim was to see his 60th birthday. He would have to defy the odds to do so, but a dream came true with a very special party on 29 June 2018, when Jill organised a party with 160 friends to mark the occasion.
“Miraculous is a word vastly overused and risks being cheapened in the process, but when you have been called a medical miracle and a miracle man several times to your face, you are forced to ponder a little. My 60th birthday had been a fervently held personal target since my diagnosis and having made it, there was plenty to still stay healthy for,” added Mick.
Legal victory corresponded with Mick’s success combating cancer and despite extensive further treatment following the cancer’s return in 2016, Mick continues to be dubbed the ‘miracle man’ by doctors who continue to treat him, seven years on from the original bombshell diagnosis that prompted his first book.
Mick was persuaded to put pen to paper by former cabinet minister, Jonathan Aitken. Jill had suggested Mick explore faith as a support and Jonathan was the man he turned to. Aitken suggested and encouraged the project, pushing Mick to seek a publisher and contributing the foreword to a book Mick describes as a love-letter to his wife and children.
Cancer and Pisces is available from Amazon and other outlets. Royalties from sales of the book will go to Cancer Research UK.
For more visit www.quillerpublishing.com/product/cancer-and-pisces
For more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by mesothelioma visit our asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or all 0370 1500 100.