The South Wales Asbestos Support Group (SWASG) was set up by former fire fighter Edward Gilbertson, from Taffs Wells, to give anyone diagnosed with an asbestos-related lung condition, or anyone concerned about past exposure to asbestos, the opportunity to share information and experiences.
Eddie 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.”
Eddie 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.
Eddie adds: “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 SWASG.
You don’t need to face worry and illness alone. SWASG gives you the chance to talk to others who can understand what you are going through. The group meets regularly across the South Wales region and please do not hesitate to get in contact with Eddie if you think he can help you.
Come along and have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee.