The event has been organised by the Roger Lowe Asbestos Mesothelioma Campaign – set up in memory of a Plymouth dockyard electrical fitter who lost his battle against the disease in December 2005 – with the aim of providing vital support and advice for anyone in the south-west affected by asbestos-related cancers.
The meeting, which starts at 4.30pm at the Stonehouse Creek Community Centre, Plymouth, will provide a forum for those affected by exposure to asbestos to express their needs and ideas. It will mark the creation of a supportive network across Plymouth and the south-west for sufferers, their families and anyone concerned about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Planned speakers include:
- • Linda Gilroy, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton
- • Dennis Yiannakis, Consultant Oncologist at Derriford Hospital
- • Sean McPhail, from the South-West Public Health Observatory
"We need to ensure that current and future practice protects his grandsons who now also work in the dockyard, by highlighting the dangers and damage asbestos can cause to individuals and families. Our family hope this campaign will assist employers and employees, past, present and future, to protect people and prevent mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos continuing into future generations."
Roger’s union Prospect and solicitors Russell Jones & Walker are supporting the campaign.Michael Imperato, partner at Russell Jones & Walker said: "The rise in deaths across the UK caused by mesothelioma is alarming. They were 153 reported deaths in 1968. Now it is over 2,000 a year and will peak at an expected total of 2,500 over the next five to 10 years. Unfortunately victims usually feel alone and isolated. They need local help and support and we are pleased to do whatever we can to assist this initiative."
Linda Gilroy MP said: "Plymouth has one of the highest incidences of asbestosis in the country and I welcome the opportunity which the campaign gives me to meet with people to discuss their concerns and act as a link to the very well organised all party group in Parliament to ensure their voices are heard."
Plans are also in place for campaign supporters to meet again on February 27, 2008 to commemorate the third National Action Mesothelioma Day.
Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest (the pleura) and, less commonly, of the abdomen (the peritoneum). It is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos.
Russell Jones & Walker have set up a free 24-hour helpline on 0800 916 9072 to direct callers to the most suitable advice and support. For more information about the campaign and Roger’s life visit www.prospect.org.uk/rogerlowecampaign