The day of remembering the victims of Asbestos related illness, takes place annually on 1st July.
The day is commemorated with the the tile of Mesothelioma Day which is the major disease caused by Asbestos. It was once called Asbestosis, and here is no cure and it takes lives still to this day.
In Liverpool each year, the charity organisation, Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group; holds an event which includes the release of doves and authoritative speakers from the field of science, medicine and from the charities and organisations supporting victims and their families. This sometimes also includes solicitors whose expertise is in litigation on behalf of victims and their families.
The event also included several stalls from:
Macmillan: Ellie Fleming, Laura Jones – Arrowe Park Hospital Pleural Team Also with
Rose Roberts Information & Support Advisor & Gill Nolan Community Cancer Support
Asbestos Law Partnership, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Thompson Solicitors, Leigh Day Solicitors all pictured below,
and with two key speakers:
Professor Judy Coulson from the University of Liverpool's Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
The event also saw the Mayors of Merseyside attend:
Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool: Councillor Mary Rasmussen Mayor of Knowsley: Councillor Eddie Connor
Mayor of Wirral: Councillor Jeff Green Mayoress of Wirral: Mrs Carol Green
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos. Action Mesothelioma Day is a day when we gather to remember all those who have lost their lives to asbestos disease, and to campaign for justice for all asbestos victims.
Around 40,000 men and women have died of mesothelioma since the UK asbestos ban in 1999. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates a similar number will die over the next 20 year.
The HSE statistics on deaths through asbestos related illness, can be downloaded from the Unionsafety E-Library by using the keyword 'Mesothelioma' or 'Asbestos' to search for relevant documents: or by searching the Category 'Asbestos' to select and download documents about the disease and the issues around it.
Mesothelioma takes 20-60 years to develop following exposure to asbestos so, although no longer imported or used, asbestos is still a problem for for some time to come.
Many public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, workplaces and homes still have asbestos in the fabric of the building, posing risks of exposure to future generations unless safely removed. This is not a legacy problem. People are dying today from this disease and thousands more will die before the epidemic plays out, unless a cure or improved treatments are discovered.
Following the release of the Doves in the garden of St Nicholas Church across the Strand from the Royal Liver Buildings, by pupils from New Brighton Primary School, the event moved indoors to the Mercure Hotel opposite the Church on aptly named Chapel Street.
Following the release of the 'Doves Of Peace' by the children representing the Sacred Heart Primary School, New Brighton, the event continued in the Mercure Hotel across Chapel Street opposite St Nicholas Church and it's beautifully kept gardens.
The Lord Mayor of Wallasey Councillor Jeff Green, spoke in support of the work being done by the various organisations represented and speaking from a personal position, by reflecting upon a work colleagues whose family member is suffering from lung cancer as a result of work-based exposure to Asbestos.
The Mayor said:
“It is shocking to note that In Britain, more than 2,500 people die from mesothelioma every year because of exposure to asbestos.
“I am delighted to be here today supporting groups, charities and other organisations and individuals coming together who are calling for more awareness of the dangers of asbestos.
Here you can watch his short speech given to a very receptive audience:
The first presentation was from guest speaker Prof Judy Coulson who spoke about the research being done to combat cancer of which Mesothelioma is just one. She spoke in detail about 'personalised' drug treatments being developed as a more affective of combating Cancer.
She explained in detail about the research she and her team are undertaking and her laboratory’s Hen’s Egg project which has attracted national interest by fellow researchers working on new treatments in finding a cure for mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.
Talking about Mesothelioma, she said that unfortunately it is hard to treat requiring surgery and radiotherapy in addition to chemo-therapy which can be used to shrink or control advanced disease. She added that clinical trials on new ways of treatment including immunotherapy is underway.
Explaining that we are all different in our body's make-up and so 'personalised medicine' is the way forward in treatment of disease; she pointed out that Mesothelioma is also not the same in different individuals - different tumour suppressers off and differences in tumour microenvironments.
Commenting upon her attendance today, she said:
“It is an honour to have been invited to talk at this year’s Merseyside’s Action Mesothelioma Day, and I am looking forward to continuing to share our research ideas with the attendees in the future.”
You can watch Professor Coulson's presentation below:
Nurse Alison Hassall from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre gave her presentation on the latest trials for mesothelioma including immunotherapy and Nivolumab. She told the audience:
“The Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery (MARS 2) study had not yet been reported as follow up had been extended.
Here is Alison's presentation:
The day also gave the opportunity for the recognition of the wider issue of compensation for those suffering from Mesothelioma and their families - closures of DWP offices around the country and in particular that of the Barrow-in-Furness office.
Highlighted by Kim Johnson MP for Liverpool Riverside, saying:
“I am very concerned at the closure of the Barrow-in-Furness DWP office which provides people suffering with the asbestos-related terminal conditions of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos and asbestos related lung cancer.
“People on Merseyside are still suffering the dire legacy of our industrial past with many factories and the local shipbuilding industry having used asbestos for decades before it was banned only in 1999. This is not a disease of the past as there are over 5,000 deaths per year from the deadly dust.
I call on the government to think again about their plans to close DWP offices and in particular Barrow as well as Toxteth and St John's in my Liverpool Riverside constituency. ”
Stalls from Asbestos Law Partnership, Gordon Slater, Irwin Mitchell, Leigh Day, Marie Curie, McMillan Cancer Support and Thompsons were featured at the event; along with of course the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group stall.
and......last but not least the superb audience at the event
This event was organised by the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group (MAVSG) (Registered Charity 1178374). The charity can be contacted on 0151 236 1895.
Source Photo/Video: Chris Ingram, Derek Maylor Unionsafety Words: Chris Ingram / John Flanagan, MAVS Support Officer