Each year in Manchester, and cities across the country, people join together to raise awareness of mesothelioma, remember and honour the victims and promote an Action Mesothelioma Charter. The Charter includes a call for speedy and accurate diagnosis for sufferers, good quality treatment, funding of research into mesothelioma and for employers to provide safe working environments.
In Manchester, hundreds gathered to remember those who had lost their lives to mesothelioma.
Four Members of Parliament attended to show their support to those currently suffering from this deadly disease and the family members of loved ones who have lost their lives to this tragic disease. The MPs all conveyed that, despite the turbulent week in parliament supporting Action Mesothelioma Day was definitely the most important thing they could do today. There was a sense of remembrance in the city as the mesothelioma victims and the sacrifice of those at the battle of the Somme were remembered. Andy Burnham said: “as former Health Secretary of all the terrible conditions Mesothelioma is the cruelest of them all.”
There was then a Dove release, where the granddaughters of victims of mesothelioma, released doves in remembrance of everyone who has passed away from mesothelioma.
At the public meeting following the Dove release there was discussion of hope for the future in the fight against the injustice of mesothelioma.
Trevor Barlow, who is currently suffering from Mesothelioma and has campaigned tirelessly whilst battling this disease, gave a very significant and passionate speech about the dangers of asbestos. He said he was aware he is “living with a death sentence”. He spoke strongly of the injustice of the history of inadequate research into this deadly disease, which claims as many lives as that of skin cancer and yet receives only a fraction of the funding. Trevor also spoke of his optimism for the future now that the Government have pledged 5 million pounds for the establishment of a National Mesothelioma Centre. It was highlighted that we must continue to keep campaigning so that ongoing funding is secured in the future.
Dr Paul Barlow a leading oncologist, who specialises in mesothelioma and has led clinical trials to try to find more treatment options and runs the Cecilia centre in Wythenshawe which specialises in mesothelioma. Dr Barlow spoke of “being incredibly humbled by peoples enthusiasm for clinical trials to find better treatment for mesothelioma”. He also highlighted the importance of palliative care and collaborative research into this devastating disease.
Helen Bradley, Partner and Specialist in asbestos related disease at Birchall Blackburn Law, attends this event every year.
She said: “Action Mesothelioma Day is a very poignant day and it is an honour to be part of it. It is incredibly moving to see so many families gathered carrying the photographs of those who have lost their lives to this devastating disease and also working together to raise awareness of this disease and lobbying parliament to secure funding for research. I was very pleased that with all the changes in Government it was still recognised that this is a very important day for MPs to attend. It is a very positive step that it has been recognised that there is a tremendous need to fund research into mesothelioma and 5 million pounds has been pledged by the Government for this. However, there is definitely a need for us to keep fighting for justice for the victims of this deadly disease. The UK has the highest number of victims of this disease worldwide and the number of people diagnosed per year is expected to increase in the next five years. I attend the Action Mesothelioma Day each year and the message is universally one of hope every year and this year the message was even more hopeful than previous years due to the increased funding into research of this deadly disease.”
If you believe you have an asbestos related condition or would like further information about Action Mesothelioma Day please contact Birchall Blackburn on 0800 614 722 or Helen directly on 0161 238 5637.