Friday, 18 July 2014

Telling Their Stories

When campaigning for the rights of those affected by asbestos, and trying to raise funds to support our cause, it is always helpful to hear human stories.  Nothing brings home the impact that asbestos has on lives more than listening to someone who has lost a loved one through exposure to this deadly substance.

This was brought home to us last week when we attended the Nottingham City Homes Staff Conference. We are Nottingham City Homes' Charity of the Year and we needed to go along and demonstrate to staff why they should get behind DAST. Because this was held over two days and some distance away from our Chesterfield office, we asked two local ladies, Angela and Yvette, to come along and support our information stall. On the second day, they were asked if they would speak to delegates about their experiences. They both bravely agreed to stand up in front of a room full of people and tell them how asbestos had affected their family.  Both lost their husbands to Mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. This immediately engaged the audience. Their stories could do so much more than an information stall with leaflets and pens could ever do.  Hopefully now, many more NCH staff members know why they are supporting DAST this year, and have been encouraged to organise a fundraiser or donate.

Thanks to Yvette and Angela, NCH staff know why they should support DAST
Lauren Ross addresses the seminar
Meanwhile, the annual seminar of the Parliamentary Asbestos Sub-Group took place in London earlier this week. Jim Sheridan, the Chair of the Group, presided over the session which featured presentations covering legal, medical and political issues.  But the session was launched by another personal story. Lauren Ross, whose husband Frank died of mesothelioma in 2007,  detailed the terrible price paid by generations of workers who had died prematurely from occupational accidents and diseases. Before her husband had been diagnosed with mesothelioma Lauren, who had lost her grandfather and great uncle to work accidents, had “thought that deaths at work were a thing of the past.” “The reason I have come here today is,” she said “because I know that unfortunately this is not the case.” Frank was only sixty years old when he died; had it not been for mesothelioma, he could have lived another 24 years.  What a brilliant way to make sure that people take the seminar seriously.
If you have a Mesothelioma story that you would like to share, then do tell it to us.  You can post it on our Facebook page or email it to me for a future blog post at  It would also be useful to have stories to include in our annual report which gets posted out to funders, who are always interested to hear how our work directly benefits people.
Share your story and help DAST at the same time.