A former fire fighter is launching a new asbestos support group in Pontypridd on Friday, July 17, to help people affected by the deadly material.
Edward Gilbertson, from Taffs Wells, has set up the group to give anyone diagnosed with an asbestos-related lung condition, or anyone concerned about past exposure to asbestos, the opportunity to share experiences and information.
The National Asbestos Helpline Support Group in South Wales will meet for the first time over a cup of tea and coffee in the Pontypridd Museum, Bridge Street. Family and friends are also welcome to come to the meeting from 11am to 3pm.
With the help of the National Asbestos Helpline and Birchall Blackburn Law, Edward can also arrange for anyone to access practical and financial advice for asbestos victims and families affected by pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Edward says: “When you’re told you have asbestos fibres in your lungs – no matter how serious the related condition – it’s frightening and isolating. What does it mean for your health and future? It is for this reason I wanted to set up an asbestos support group so people can meet informally, talk about their experiences and get answers.”
Edward, aged 68, was diagnosed with pleural plaques in 1999. The condition is a scarring on the outer lining of the lung caused by breathing in asbestos dust and fibres. It develops 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos but causes no long-term health problems, and the scarring is not cancerous.
He says: “I’m lucky I just have pleural plaques, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. The condition confirms that asbestos fibres are in my lungs and there is a small chance I could develop a more serious asbestos-related disease.”
Edward is no stranger to serious illnesses. In 2008 he was diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer. Following surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Edward continues to go for regular check –ups and he would like to use his experiences in a positive way through the National Asbestos Helpline Support Group in South Wales.
If anyone would like to speak to Eddie Gilbertson ahead of the forthcoming meeting on Friday, July 17, between 11am and 3pm in the Pontypridd Museum, Bridge Street, call 07572 090 500 or email email@example.com.