June 27, 2016

Event to highlight the plight of those with asbestos illnesses and launch new support group in Swindon for patients and families

Acton Mesothelioma Day 2016

White doves will be released and a wreath laid during a ceremony which is taking place in Swindon on Friday, 1 July, to mark National Action Mesothelioma Day.

Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, their families and friends as well as the Mayor of Swindon Councillor Eric Shaw, representatives from Prospect Hospice and other local charities, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Coroner’s office are among those expected to attend the ceremony in the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden in Queen’s Park.

The ceremony has been organised by our Industrial Diseases team to raise awareness of the continued increase in asbestos-related illnesses and launch a new support group for patients and their families.

Helen Childs, a partner and specialist mesothelioma solicitor at Withy King, said: "The number of cases of mesothelioma continues to rise with around 2,500 people diagnosed in the UK last year. This figure is not expected to peak for another five years so sadly more lives will continue to be affected. Unfortunately, Swindon – with its proud industrial heritage and links to the railway industry – continues to pay the price for the historic use of asbestos."

Helen continued: "We are setting up a support and advice group to provide a forum for those affected by asbestos-related illnesses and their families to come together and share their experiences. Research has shown that people cope better when they have the support of others who have been through something similar and can empathise, guide and advise one another at each step of the journey. For many people, a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness comes as a bolt out of the blue. We see a real need for a support group of this kind and are looking forward to helping it develop over the months and years ahead."

The new support group meetings will take place at Bake n’ Roll Café, Unit 2, Empire House, Groundwell Road, Swindon, SN1 2LT on the first Wednesday of every month, from 2-4pm – starting on Wednesday, 6 July. There is no need to book as these are drop-in sessions.

The Action Mesothelioma Day ceremony, which begins in the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden on Friday at 11am, will be followed by refreshments in Queen’s Park café with opportunities to network and find out more about the new support and advice group.

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