Action Mesothelioma Day last month was an opportunity for us all to remember those who have sadly lost their lives to this asbestos cancer and also a chance to talk about what can be done to help patients and their families suffering from the terminal disease.
I am proud to call myself a dedicated supporter of Action Mesothelioma Day having been present at the first ever event in 2006, when victims, support groups and lawyers signed a 15 point charter calling for action including making mesothelioma a national priority and for funding for good quality research. I have attended every year and seen just how much can be accomplished when people work together and will not take no for an answer.
Sadly, since the call for action 13 years ago, over 2,000 people every year have died of this horrendous disease.
Here in Liverpool and the Wirral we are proud of our heritage and our vibrant community. Our region was the focus of national news just recently when the new RRS Sir Richard Attenborough polar research vessel (Boaty McBoatFace) was launched into the River Mersey from Cammell Laird ship builders in Birkenhead.
Our area is rich in industrial history however this has at times come at a price with many people having been exposed to asbestos during their working lives in Merseyside during the 1950s, 60s and 70s which has manifested itself for some workers and families as mesothelioma later in life.
This year following Action on Mesothelioma Day we were very proud to spend some time in the presence of a very well known and highly respected spokesperson in the field of mesothelioma, who definitely never takes no for an answer; Mavis Nye of the Mavis Nye Foundation. I invited Mavis to speak at the July 2018 Living Well meeting run by the Merseyside Asbestos Victim Support Group (MAVSG) and was over the moon when she accepted and agreed to travel to Liverpool with husband Ray to share her experience and knowledge.
Mavis was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 which was contracted as a result of breathing in asbestos dust which was present on Ray’s overalls from his work in the Royal Navy Dockyard in Chatham as a Shipwright. Mavis was given the devastating news that she had about 3 months to live. She then underwent 4 years of brutal chemotherapy and drug trials which nearly killed her but she refused to give up and when she was one of the first people offered a place on an immunotherapy trial at the Royal Marsden hospital, she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Mavis was one of the few people to have complete tumor response to the treatment, in layman’s terms she went into remission, unheard of in mesothelioma cases and as a result she has offered hope to thousands of mesothelioma sufferers.
Throughout her experiences she ran an online support group via her blog and the term #mesowarriors became a global name. Mavis became a patient representative at various hospitals and NHS Trusts where she fights for the rights of mesothelioma patients and is an Advocate at Mesothelioma UK. She and her husband Ray set up the Mavis Nye Foundation to support victims and fund vital research into treatments to find a cure for this insidious disease.
Having learnt from Mavis about the positive effect immunotherapy can possibly have on mesothelioma patients, we are keen to secure the treatment where possible for our clients. Immunotherapy is not available on the NHS but it is available privately so our aim as specialist asbestos solicitors is to secure immediate interim payments for our clients to fund their immunotherapy treatment, provided their treating oncologists feel they are suitable candidates.
Nowadays, it is possible to include the future costs of private immunotherapy treatment in the settlement of an asbestos compensation claim, whether by means of a periodical payment order or if treatment is already underway, as an item of future loss.
Sadly, in April this year, almost 10 years after Mavis first became ill, she received the devastating news that her mesothelioma has come back. Many faced with that news would have given up. Not Mavis, she has just been offered a further trial of immunotherapy, and had her first treatment last month, just days before she travelled up to Liverpool to give a talk about her experiences.
The first thing Mavis said when I met her at her hotel before the event was how excited she was about what is happening to her right now, how useful her body is to researchers and scientists who are studying her radiology, blood work and DNA to help fight this disease. What a lady!
It was my absolute privilege to welcome Mavis and Ray to Liverpool and to have the chance to show them a small part of this beautiful city and to get the opportunity to spend time with them as they are not just amazing people but extremely good company.
Follow Ray and Mave’s blog here: https://rayandmave.wordpress.com/
Or follow Mavis on Twitter: Mavis Nye BCAh (@grandmamavis)