November 2004 started in the usual November way, coughs and colds were rife so none of us were particularly concerned when we all went down with it too..
December and January passed and we had all recovered except Dad.
Mum spent the whole of January nagging him to see the doctor and finally at the beginning of February 2005 that appointment was made.
The doctor confirmed that there was fluid on his lung and instead of the antibiotics we were expecting, his lung was drained and he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.
Dad was always a fit person, at 71 years old he had never learnt to drive and so would regularly walk into Eastleigh, the nearest town.
He also walked down to the village shop every morning to collect his newspaper, but what he had neglected to tell us, was the increasing breathlessness he was experiencing.
Dad had spent his whole working life at Eastleigh Railway Works and many times he had spoken about the continual exposure to asbestos. He would also talk about the increasing numbers of his work friends who were being diagnosed with what we only knew as ‘asbestosis’.
He took early retirement during 1995 and was determined to enjoy the new leisure time he had gained.
Dad loved genealogy and taught himself how to input all the information onto his new computer. He was a very active person, loved Bowls and would always have his sleeves rolled up, whether it was doing DIY for all his family or pottering around in his beloved garden.
For a while after his lung was drained he was relatively well, he carried on doing all the things he loved.
10 July 2005 was Mum and Dad’s 40th Wedding Anniversary and we spent a lovely family weekend at Butlins which we all enjoyed!
It was at this time that we noticed the change in him, he had always loved swimming and was upset when he found that he could no longer manage to do it. It was like his ‘spark’ had gone out.
We spent hours surfing the web looking for answers, we found the Mick Knighton site and after the complete isolation we had felt, we received welcome support from Chris Knighton.
We also found Alimta. We spoke to Dad’s consultant who felt that he would benefit from the treatment, we applied for funding and then the PCT refused.
We enlisted the help of Eastleigh’s MP Chris Huhne, but they were still unwilling to help and would only offer Vinorelbine which would make very little impression on his illness.
We felt that it was a disgrace that people who got this dreadful disease through no fault of their own, (only the through the negligence of others) were not being given access to a treatment which could give a better quality of life.
We found it difficult to understand why in an area which has been blighted with asbestos-related disease that this treatment was not being offered.
Our Father, Dave Salisbury died at home on 10 December 2005, less than ten months after diagnosis.
Diane and Lynne would like to thank everyone who has given invaluable support to the cause and rather belatedly would like to introduce Lisa Booth, who is now working alongside Lynne providing home visits.
The Hampshire area is a ‘hot spot’ for asbestos-related disease. During Dad’s illness and the months following his death we felt that there was a need for a support group here.
We started campaigning to raise awareness in February 2006.
In October 2006, Diane and Lynne supported a Lobby at the House of Commons, to campaign for the provision of a chemotherapy drug, Alimta to be made available on the NHS.
HASAG also attended the Government’s Mesothelioma Summit in 2007.
In 2008 HASAG hosted their very first Action Mesothelioma Day in Portsmouth, since then HASAG have raised over £270,000 for research into asbestos illness and patient support.
HASAG is a completely independent, campaigning organisation.
Diane and Lynne would like to thank everyone who has given invaluable support to the cause.
HASAG hope they can achieve the kind of support, guidance and information they feel everyone should be entitled to.