#actionmeso AoA supporting new campaign to raise awareness of mesothelioma

Scotland’s leading asbestos charity is today calling for everyone to get behind a social media campaign to raise awareness of the condition mesothelioma; terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Action on Asbestos is urging everyone to log on to the website actionmeso.org.uk to learn more about how the four nations within the UK have combined their efforts in a national campaign which will raise awareness of mesothelioma and how this condition continues to claim the lives of over 2,500 people each year.

The campaign to raise awareness of mesothelioma is being launched today by Mesothelioma UK Alliance, an organisation consisting of asbestos support groups, charities, unions, medical professionals and many other interested parties who have had first-hand experience of mesothelioma.
Action on Asbestos Director, Phyllis Craig MBE, explained:

“Mesothelioma is a tumour in the lining of the lung, or more rarely the peritoneum or pericardium. There is no cure for this illness, and it continues to devastate lives across the UK. It is not widely known, but there are more deaths from mesothelioma than there are in road traffic accidents. Action on Asbestos has been supporting Scottish sufferers and raising awareness of this dreadful illness for over 35 years. There are many other charities and groups throughout the UK with a similar aim, yet knowledge of the illness and its prevalence is still low amongst the general population. This must change for progress to be made in managing mesothelioma and increasing funding for research. By all four nations in the UK coming together at the same time to support this crucial campaign, we hope that these needs can start to be met.”

Paul Cook, the person behind bringing the 4 Nations together to raise awareness of the horrendous condition mesothelioma, was only 43 when he himself was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He was self-employed, married and had a five-year-old son. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness, let alone one caused by asbestos was not something that had ever crossed his mind:

“When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017, my life changed there and then. I had never heard of mesothelioma and during my surgery and chemotherapy, I still hadn’t fully taken in what this illness was. My friends and family had never heard of it. Most could not spell it or even pronounce it. All were stunned that my illness was caused by asbestos. There are so many myths about asbestos that need to be addressed: asbestos was not only used in the shipyards; it is not only men most have been exposed to asbestos and it is not only people who worked in trades or manual occupations who were exposed.

The aim of the campaign is to put the focus on mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. This is not an old issue. I am a young man with a young family, and this has come into my life. My vision was to bring everyone together in the UK who are already working so hard to support people with mesothelioma and concentrate their efforts in one big coordinated campaign. To show support for the campaign, we are asking that all the charities, organisations and groups in the UK change their social media profile picture and header for 24 hours to #actionmeso and direct as many people there as possible, or to the website actionmeso.org.uk to pledge their support and see how they can help. We know that Action on Asbestos is supporting the campaign in this way and that Mesothelioma UK and many others are doing the same.”

Jonathan Watson, pictured with Jemima Levick (Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Stellar Quines) and AoA staff supporting #actionmeso campaign

Anas Sarwar MSP is supporting the four nations campaign by raising a parliamentary motion in the Scottish Parliament:

“I cannot stress enough how important it is to raise awareness of mesothelioma. Asbestos-related disease can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, class, race or culture. Mesothelioma can develop after relatively light exposure to asbestos and we must continue to highlight the dangers of the asbestos that continues to lurk in our infrastructure. I am urging MSP’s across parties to show their support for those who live with this dreadful condition, and for those whose lives have been taken”.

Further information please call
Phyllis Craig MBE:  0141 552 8852.