Front Page of the Whitstable Gazette.
Front Page Article
Front Page Article
A dying woman battling for a change in the law to speed up life-saving treatment has revealed washing her husband’s work clothes led to her deadly disease.
When doctors told Seasalter pensioner Mavis Nye she was suffering from mesothelioma she knew straight away it was the result of cleaning her husband’s clothes after returning from work at Chatham Dockyard.
The asbestos-related cancer was caused by shaking the dust-filled garments before breathing in lethal fibres which can cause cancerous cells to develop.
Mavis caught a deadly lung disease after washing husband Ray's clothes Her husband, Ray, worked for five years as a shipwright at the dockyard during the 1960s before he left the industry.
In 2009 she was given three months to live but the 72-year-old is fighting on spurred by calls for a new law to speed up urgent medical treatments.
In the past five years she has had chemotherapy at hospitals in London and Canterbury to prevent the cancer from growing, but there are no new treatments available after she began suffering allergic reactions.
Speaking at her home in Seasalter Lane, Mavis said she knew instantly her exposure to asbestos through washing clothes was the reason she had cancer.
She said: “I knew straight away. We thought Ray would get it because he’s lost all his mates he used to work with but the shock was it was me instead.
Mavis washed Ray's work clothes - which caused the cancer - decades ago “Ray does feel guilty because he thought it would be him and not me, but asbestos just wasn’t considered dangerous in those days.
“I don’t know how long I’ve had it. We came here in 2000 and I was fine then suddenly in 2009 my arm went numb and I couldn’t even walk to the WI.
“They discovered there was fluid in my lungs and I was told I’d only have three months to live.
“I’ve lived an active life. I go swimming and to keep fit classes and I only smoked on occasion.
“I lived those months like they were my last. I chucked all my clothes out, bought new furniture and spent time putting everything in order.”
Mavis said her last battle was to help change the law for sufferers of life-threatening illnesses to opt for new treatments where standard medicines had failed.
“Ray does feel guilty because he thought it would be him and not me, but asbestos just wasn’t considered dangerous in those days" - Mavis Nye On Tuesday, she travelled to Parliament with Lord Saatchi to launch a consultation on his medical innovations bill, introduced after the death of his wife from ovarian cancer in 2011.
She said: “History was made this week. The debate was blown wide open.
“With mesothelioma, it’s not an old man’s disease any more.
“I knew a teacher who got it from pinning work on the wall and there are cases where children die.
“If this bill was available now, it might be easier for me to find other treatments and at this stage I’d try anything.
“I said I want the bill and I want it now because I don’t know how long I will have left.”
Thursday, 27 February 2014 Mesothelioma, the media and Mavis There are some organisations with high profiles which are very good at grabbing media attention, but it is rare to find the eye of the media turning towards an individual blogging away on a small scale and at much more personal level.
You can bang on for years, trying to raise awareness about something important, but generally the only people who listen are family and friends, and those with a specific interest in the subject you blog about. As far as the national and international media are concerned, you do not exist.
But there are exceptions to that generality and one of those is fellow meso blogger, Mavis Nye. Mavis writes a daily blog Living with Mesothelioma (link on the right) which has attracted attention far beyond her wide circle of friends in the mesothelioma and motor home communities. Likewise, the number of people following @grandmamavis on Twitter is rising steadily.
Mavis works really hard at reaching out to people. I don't know how long she spends each day sitting in front of the computer sending and reply to e-mails; posting and commenting on Facebook in groups and private messages; writing tweets; publishing her daily blog and such like, but it must be a long time - she is so productive!
It has paid off in the past, with features in the local and national press, but recently Mavis has hit the national media big time. Back in January, she was interviewed on the BBC Politics Show, talking about the new Mesothelioma Bill. She was recently invited to tea with the Director of Corporate Development of Verastem Inc, a major American drug company which is working on the COMMAND clinical drug trial here in the UK.
More recently, and at his request, she found herself sitting beside Lord Saatchi at the first "Google hangout" televised in the House of Lords on Monday to launch the Saatchi Bill (Medical Innovation Bill).
She then went on to give interviews to the press and TV. Quite a celebrity :-)
No wonder she was awarded the Asbestos Diseases Awareness Organisation's Alan Reinstein Award for her commitment to education, advocacy, and support to countless patients and families, and the Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP) Meso Warrior Award in 2013. Where can she go from here, I wonder?
Read the local press article here!
Mavis has what we need to raise awareness of this awful disease. Someone who is living through it, helping others all the time while she desperately seeks the answer to the question what next for herself? Mavis has already had four chemo regimes and her "Mr Nasty" is growing again, albeit slowly according to her last scan back in December 2013. She has exhausted all the usual options but is still willing to put herself forward for innovative treatment, so is a prefect person to help front the Saatchi Bill campaign!
I usually dedicate blogs to meso warriors with a heavy heart as it is a way of saying goodbye. Yesterday, we said goodbye to another warrior, Ernie and our thoughts and sympathies are with Dot, his wife, and their family and friends.
But rather than use today's post to say goodbye to another brave warrior, I'm delighted and proud to dedicate this post to someone who is still full of life and determination. Well done Mavis, meso warrior queen!
Posted by Linda Wride at 18:43 Labels: ADAO, COMMAND, IATP, mavis nye, Mesothelioma Bill, Saatchi Bill, Verastem