Posted on October 11, 2013 

Robert GardinerWe have been touched by asbestos in individual ways, yet we are joined together by a bond of community. As a testament to the strength of our global family, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is highlighting the courageous stories of our members with the “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

This week, we would like to honor the story of Robert, as shared by his daughter Nicola, who is a part of our ADAO family.

We encourage you to submit your personal stories by clicking here and following the simple instructions on the page. In sharing, comes healing. Remember, you are not alone.

“Living with Emptiness” – Robert’s Story

Name: Robert

Location: U.K.

Date of Birth: 20-JUL-1944

Date of Diagnosis:  21-OCT-2010

Diagnosis: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Treatment: Palliative chemotherapy using Cisplatin and Pemetrexed, Radiotherapy

Date of Death: 21-MAR-2012

How has asbestos changed your life? Asbestos has changed our lives so much in just 3 years. Nobody understands it until they have faced it in their family. I am an only child born later in life to my Mum & Dad, married for 16 years before I came along. I lost my Mum at 17 years old and it was just me and Dad for a long time. That in itself makes a bond a lot closer. I married my wonderful husband in 2009 (picture above: Dad on left with red shirt from our Reception, with friends for over 40 years) and the 3 of us lived together as an extended family in my original family home.

The plan was  that my Dad was going to be a ‘hands on Granddad’, which happened very quickly just into a month of Wedded bliss. My Dad was elated and so looking forward to it all. To be honest, my Dad was only existing when my Mum died and had really struggled with life from then on. When I got married, my Dad had this new found love of life and really had began to live again, after 11 years of grieving my Mum.

I was 8 months pregnant when the first tests for Mesothelioma were taken place, and the day my Dad received his negative results was the 4th August 2010. A day I will never forget, the day my son was born. Unimaginable really, and all in one day. We lived a normal family life for 11 weeks, before the dreaded positive result of Mesothelioma. Asbestos has taken my son’s doting grandad from him, and also left me with no Mum & Dad at the age of 31 years. I never thought life could be so cruel. Of course, I love my husband dearly but there is an emptiness from where my parents should be.

I looked after my Dad for the 1 year 5 months of his life, and the toll this took on me was devasting. The pain and suffering was hard to watch and he never gave up the fight. Always trying to beat it. I lost my job through ill health because I was too ill to return to work, we are currently fighting through Employment Laws. All this, and the only reason for it is Asbestos. I hate it, and will for the rest of my life. The plan for the future is awareness – what else can we do? It won’t bring him back, but may help someone in the future. And as for the blood money, it will never ever be enough for a life. Easiest way to explain it is “lost a million, won a tenner!” This is our story of Mesothelioma.

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