Thorne daughter raises awareness of silent killer

Amanda Miller with her late father Dennis Digby.
Amanda Miller with her late father Dennis Digby.

A Thorne woman who lost her dad to an asbestos related illness is raising awareness of the silent killer disease.

Dennis Digby, aged 68, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, which he is believed to have contracted while working for over 30 years in power stations.

Having had no previous ailments, Dennis passed away in June 2013.

His daughter, Amanda Miller, aged 38, of Walnut Road said: “My dad had mesothelioma which is a very aggressive form of cancer.

“It is called a silent killer. It just takes one asbestos fibre to attach to the lining of the lung. It can incubate for 30 years until it comes to a head and then it’s too late.

“My dad was found to have fluid on his lung, but he had been fine up until then.

“Anybody that has worked with asbestos pre-1970 can be susceptible to it. They believe it is up and coming now, and that cases will reach their peak in 2020.”

Amanda decided to start raising awareness of the disease by collecting funds, and joined forces with family members of other sufferers.

As well as taking part in a number of sponsored runs, two charity balls have been held, raising over £10,000 in total.

A third ball, at Drax Sports and Social Club, is now being planned for later this spring.

“I’ve been fundraising ever since he was diagnosed,” said Amanda. “It’s helped me to cope.

“We want to raise awareness of the condition because it’s so bad, and raise vital funds to train special nurses in mesothelioma, to put the nurses into hospitals to help patients.”

Anyone that can offer any form of support should email or call Amanda on 07899 761 458.

Amanda added: “I’m hoping my dad is proud of what I am doing. I did a lot of my fundraising while he was here, so this year will be a bit of a challenge because he’s not here.”

A government bill seeks to start a scheme that will pay compensation for victims of mesothelioma.

In the UK 2,600 people a year are diagnosed, and around 300 to 400 a year are unable to get compensation because companies where they used to work have either gone bust or their insurers cannot be traced.

* The 2014 charity ball will take place at Drax Sports and Social Club on Saturday, April 5, from 7pm.

The event will comprise a three course dinner, champagne, a raffle, auction and a band.

The previous two balls have raised £4,500 and £7,500 respectively, and the organisers are looking to try to top that total.

All proceeds to go to Mesothelioma UK.

Should anyone want to provide prizes or sponsorship or purchase tickets they can contact Amanda on 07899 761 458 or Fran on 07583 971 143.

Among those organising the event is solicitor and friend Howard Bonnett of Corries Solicitors Limited, who specialise in asbestos disease claims.