Despite the inclement Manchester weather, hundreds gathered to remember those who lost their lives to mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer most commonly affecting the lining of the lungs and caused by exposure to asbestos.
Seven Members of Parliament attended to show their support to those currently suffering from mesothelioma and the family members of loved ones lost to this tragic disease.
The Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham made a public pledge that, if the Labour party is elected next year, they will prioritise vital medical research into this fatal disease. Many MPs remembered the late Paul Goggin (MP) who was a great campaigner for mesothelioma sufferers and pledged their support.
Doves were released to remember those who have died from mesothelioma and afterwards there was a public meeting in Manchester Town Hall. At the meeting Lord Alton, gave a very passionate speech on the importance of Medical Research on mesothelioma.
Lord Alton, a powerful advocate for mesothelioma sufferers for a number of years, spoke of the great injustice that so many people have “scandalously” lost their lives to mesothelioma despite the risks of asbestos exposure having been known for decades. He spoke of his mission for legislation to be passed, which will ensure that there is a sustainable source of funds for this vital research into mesothelioma and possible treatment or even a cure.
He advised that talks have stalled between the insurance industry and the British Lung Foundation as insurers are trying to reduce their liability and further commented that the levy proposed, would be a drop in the ocean to an industry worth billions of pounds.
The British Lung Foundation’s latest research, suggests that there will be a huge increase in the number of people suffering from mesothelioma until 2020 and so action needs to be taken now. Lord Alton has said that funding for mesothelioma research is currently ‘paltry and inadequate’. However, if agreement can be reached these funds would make a tremendous difference to research so in turn the lives of thousands of people in the UK alone.
Helen Bradley’s comments
“It was incredibly moving to see so many of the families gathered in the rain, carrying pictures of their loved ones lost to this disease and standing up for justice for the sufferers of mesothelioma. Lord Alton’s speech was very emotive and highlighted the importance of joining together and putting pressure on the decision makers so that the insurance industry is required to contribute to the costs of this essential research.
The message was universally one of hope so that if we all continue to campaign we can improve the plight of the thousands of people each year who are diagnosed with mesothelioma.”