Family And Lawyers Issue Warning On Dangers of Asbestos Ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day
The family of a former British Rail fireman from Glamorgan has spoken out about the dangers of asbestos following his premature death as a result of an asbestos-related disease.
In December 2019, Donald Lewis from Caerphilly was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades before.
Lawyers investigate Caerphilly man's asbestos exposure
Following his diagnosis, Donald instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to asbestos. However, he sadly passed away aged 75 on 14 September, 2020, before he could see his case concluded.
Donald’s family, led by his wife Ann Lewis, 74, continued her husband’s quest for answers and lawyers secured a settlement from the Department for Transport, after an admission was made by the Secretary of State for Transport and the claim was successfully concluded.
Family and legal team supporting mesothelioma awareness campaign
The family has now spoken out ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day on 1 July, to pay tribute to a much loved husband, father and grandfather and to warn others of the dangers of asbestos.
Expert Opinion“Two-and-a-half years after first meeting Don, we’re pleased to have secured the answers he and his family were looking for in respect of his asbestos exposure.
“Don was keen to hold his exposing employers to account and so I am pleased we were able to obtain an admission of liability from the Secretary of State for Transport during his lifetime. Whilst no amount of money will ever compensate for Don’s illness and premature death, I am pleased justice has been served and hope the settlement provides Ann and the rest of Don’s family with some financial security for the future.
“The family are keen to do all they can to help ensure others don’t go through what they have and in speaking out, they hope to spread awareness of the very real dangers still posed by asbestos and the importance of seeking legal advice.” Alexandra Lausen - Associate Solicitor
Mesothelioma: Donald Lewis' story
Donald had been married to Ann for 53 years and they have three sons and six grandchildren.
Donald was employed by British Rail between 1961 and 1968 at the Radyr site near Cardiff and worked in close proximity to fitters as they cut and tore asbestos rope before wrapping it around the flanges on the locomotives to prevent steam leaks.
Donald had first started to feel unwell in October 2019. Following a range of tests over the following two months, he was diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma in December. Despite undergoing two rounds of chemotherapy, Donald sadly passed away on 14 September 2020, surrounded by his family.
In addition to spending time with his family, Donald was always fascinated by nature, especially the animal kingdom, and could quite easily spend hours watching programmes about this. When his children were younger, the family enjoyed camping in the summer holidays and long walks in the countryside and along the coast. Being a practical man, Donald also loved pottering around in his garage, fixing and making things.
South Wales family in asbestos warning
Speaking about her husband, Ann said: “Donald’s diagnosis came as a shock to the whole family and in typical style, he didn’t give up and fought the disease all the way to the end. It was this determination that led him to seek answers and he would be so pleased that his case was a success. Finding answers meant so much to him and it’s a shame that he’s not here to see it.
“Donald was a wonderful husband and father and grandfather and we all miss him more than I can say. Donald was a caring man and this led him to warn others of the dangers of asbestos when he was first diagnosed. It seems only right that we should do so now on his behalf.
“Mesothelioma has robbed me of my husband and best friend and our grandchildren will now miss all the good times they would have had with their amazing granddad. Nothing can prepare you for a cancer diagnosis and it’s still so difficult now for all of us to move on with life without him.
“We know that asbestos was once used widely and while it remains in workplaces and buildings, people will always be at risk. We all need to understand these dangers and given my family’s experience, we would urge anyone else who worked in similar industries to Donald and is now experiencing respiratory issues to speak up and seek advice as soon as possible.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people and families affected by mesothelioma at our dedicated asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
Held every year, Action Mesothelioma Day brings together victims of asbestos related diseases in general, those who have loved ones affected, healthcare professionals, support groups and those working to understand asbestos related disease and find treatments and cures for sufferers. The day aims to ensure the public is also aware of the terrible impact which asbestos related diseases can have on sufferers and their carers.