Action Mesothelioma Day takes place on the first Friday of July every year. To mark the occasion, we're continuing to raise awareness of the disease and reiterate our support for the many families affected.
By sharing our client’s stories and repeating calls for improved safety measures to tackle asbestos related diseases, we unite to remind anyone that’s been diagnosed, that they should never have to go through it alone.
A bit of background
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs and, less commonly, the abdomen – it’s most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos from decades ago. Through our work, we sadly see many people affected by this type of cancer, which causes severe breathlessness among other debilitating symptoms.
In the building and manufacturing industries, asbestos was widely used for many years. However, even long after the dangers of the substance were well known, tragically many employers still continued to use it while failing to equip their staff members with the correct safety measures.
It’s not just people who’ve worked directly with asbestos insulation or asbestos materials that can be affected. It’s possible to become ill as a result of indirect exposure, such as being in public buildings with a presence of asbestos. We’re seeing more and more cases of this nature.
Mesothelioma usually affects the lungs, which means the disease is even more dangerous during the COVID19 pandemic, with many of our clients classed as vulnerable and having to self-isolate at an already challenging time.
There’s always magic where Bob is
We want to highlight the story of one of our inspiring clients. Bob McBratney, aged 65, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last September. He struggled to come to terms with the fate that had been handed to him – especially as one of his closest friends had passed away from the disease only five days prior to Bob's first symptoms starting to show.
Not long after his diagnosis, Bob got in touch with us, and we’re pleased to have been able to support him and help him to secure essential funds for future specialist treatment and care.
Prior to his diagnosis, Bob enjoyed working as a magician and property manager. He was fit and well, and loved cycling regularly. Not being able to cycle anymore was a big knock for him, so he was delighted to be able to purchase an electric bike just before the country went into lockdown. His new bike has been his saviour and has allowed him to not only stay healthy, but also to raise money for the Mesothelioma UK charity.
Bob explained: “My life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed. However, I was very keen to get back to cycling as it was an activity that my wife, Joanne, and I enjoyed together, and it’s important for me to stay as fit as possible to ensure I can continue my treatment.
“Cycling has given me back some of my independence, and I’m really pleased to have been able to raise funds with my legal team for the Moves for Meso campaign. The charity’s work is vital in supporting people in the same situation as me.”
Each day Bob chooses to focus on what he can do to control and improve the rest of his life for himself and his beloved family. Nicola Handley, our asbestos related disease specialist, has got to know Bob quite well and perfectly summed up what an amazing character he is.
Nicola said: “Representing Bob following his diagnosis of mesothelioma has been a real privilege and a pleasure. He’s dealt with his diagnosis in such a positive way, preferring to focus on spending time with his family and friends. Whether it’s cycling to raise money for charity, or performing magic tricks for his local support group, Bob brings so much joy to everyone lucky enough to spend time with him.”
Supporting those who provide care at a crucial time
Hospices across the UK provide an essential service for hundreds of thousands of people at the end of their life each year, but now they’re facing their own battle to stay open to be able to continue to deliver the invaluable care.
Like many industries, the country’s charity sector is facing a financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen charity shops close and major fundraising events cancelled. It’s been estimated that UK charities face a £4 billion shortfall, with major organisations warning of serious drops in income, potentially hitting some of society’s most vulnerable people when they need help the most. The extent of the income reduction has been so severe, that there are even reports of hospices being closed to make financial savings.
Alongside the relatives of loved ones cared for in hospices before their death, we’re helping to provide a much-needed funding boost, allowing them to maintain their vital services. Since the beginning of 2020 alone, we’ve been proud to recover more than £220,000 to support the work of hospices following legal cases where patients have passed from mesothelioma.
Ian Bailey, our specialist asbestos-related disease expert, says: “Hospices are vital in providing frontline care to almost 250,000 vulnerable people and their relatives each year at a very sensitive and emotional time for families.
“We hope that the funding we’ve managed to recover for hospices from our clients’ claims means sites across the country can keep providing the specialist care so many people rely on, particularly in these uncertain times.”
In 2010 we secured a landmark judgement, which ruled that the insurers of a company responsible for the death of a worker from an asbestos-related disease should contribute to the cost of the care provided to the victim by the hospice. We’ve been recovering funds for hospices ever since.
Ian Bailey adds: “Nothing can ever make up for the death of a loved one but the families we support are always very clear that, where possible, they want the hospice that provided exceptional care to their loved one to benefit.
“Times are incredibly challenging for the charity sector, which is reliant on the generosity of communities. It’s therefore essential that we’re able to continue to provide financial support for our amazing hospices and their dedicated staff to ensure they can continue to care for people with empathy and dignity at such a difficult time.”
A widow's appeal
The widow of a carpenter from Oxfordshire is appealing for help from his former work colleagues following his death from asbestos-related cancer a month after his diagnosis. Richard Swan, 67, from Kennington near Abingdon, died from mesothelioma, a year ago this month following a short battle with the illness.
Richard’s wife, Jose, 65, is appealing for any former workmates who remember working with Richard to come forward. The family is keen to hear from anyone who worked with Richard whilst he was employed by Campbells (Wantage) Ltd from 1969 until 1975/1976 or from his time at Winterbourne Building and Civil Engineering Limited from 1978/79 to 1982/83.
Jose explains “ It was devastating to see how quickly he deteriorated. I have lost my husband and my best friend. Nothing can bring Richard back. But if any of Richard’s former friends and colleagues could help us, the family and I would be so grateful.”
You can read more about Jose’s battle for justice here.
For general enquiries
0370 1500 100
Or we can call you back at a time of your choice
Request a call back
Phone lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year