A patient support group in the East of England, helping people with Mesothelioma, is celebrating its first birthday by becoming a registered charity – after being incorporated by HM. Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.
The East of England Asbestos Patient Support Group (EEA PSG) was set up in 2021 by Brian Wallis, whose wife died from asbestosis in 2013. The group, sponsored by Hugh James, has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help those suffering with Mesothelioma, and their families – like Irene Spence, who says it has been a “beacon of hope” to her after contracting Mesothelioma from washing her husband’s asbestos-laden clothes.
Since his wife’s death, Brian Wallis, a Mesothelioma UK Ambassador, has been working across the East of England region, to improve the support available for those newly diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. He also continues to raise significant funds for a Mesothelioma UK specialist nurse to work in Suffolk and Norfolk.
With no other support group of its kind in Norfolk and Suffolk – the closest similar provision is in Cambridge – this regional network has been a labour of love for Brian and his team of volunteers and a much-needed resource for patients and their families.
“It’s a real honour to Chair this wonderful group and to see, first-hand, the tangible benefits it has provided to people throughout the pandemic. Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, and members, we’re making massive strides in raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and providing solace, advice, and signposting to those who need it most. Achieving charitable status will allow the EEA PSG group to go from strength to strength.”
Commenting further, Brian Wallis, the Founder and Trustee of EEA PPG, said:
“We’re very grateful for the many people who have supported us during the course of our application for official charity status. The charity has some exciting plans for the future development of support services in the wider region and will continue to provide and build on the existing services already established with our groups in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Coastal Norfolk. We will continue to campaign for adequate and sustainable mesothelioma specialist nursing facilities in the NHS East of England Region Nursing Alliance including, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.”
The East of England Asbestos Patient Support Group organises regular speakers covering important issues like the practicalities of living well with mesothelioma; how to perform seated exercises; tips on managing breathlessness and symptom control; and hospice care. As well as organising days out, the group enjoy spending time together over a cup of tea or coffee, having a chat and focusing on the positives, celebrating the everyday and making memories now and into the future.
It offers support to everyone at whatever stage they are in their mesothelioma journey and welcomes all clients, including those who have no legal claim and those who have settled their claim elsewhere.