Neroli's Story


Neroli Sharp with hand-held fan.

From 1957 to 1965,
Neroli worked at the Fletcher Industries Ltd.
asbestos-cement factory in Christchurch,
New Zealand.
Her job in the laboratory,
testing samples of asbestos-cement,
exposed her to asbestos
on a routine basis.
She had concerns about the asbestos hazard
and when visiting the factory
would often ask the workers why
they were not wearing protective equipment

In 2009, when Neroli experienced breathlessness,
having previously been a very fit person
who enjoyed long and frequent walks,
she went to see her doctor.
He told her she could go to hospital
for an X-ray on Tuesdays or Thursdays
without an appointment.
As she was teaching a water colour class on Tuesday
she opted to go on Thursday.
The X-ray showed that her lung was full of fluid
and she was sent immediately for treatment
during which two litres of fluid were drained.

Neroli was grateful for the early diagnosis
of her mesothelioma,
for the fellowship provided by
the "wonderful" mesothelioma support group
at the Papworth Hospital
and for the "honesty, compassion and warmth"
of her medical team
including Dr. Robert Rintoul
and Mesothelioma Nurse Specialist,
Gerry Slade.
She was glad to have had the opportunity
to attend the day's launch
of the Mesothelioma Tissue Bank
 an initiative which she views
as of great significance.
(The Mesobank,
a UK based bioresource
for malignant mesothelioma,
is funded by the British Lung Foundation
and the Mick Knighton
Mesothelioma Research Fund.)
"It is," she told me,
"important for mesothelioma
to be before the public eye
because it can concern
so many people who have no idea
what is out there.
The situation in British schools
worries me to death.

From left, Pat Wood, Gerry Slade, Neroli Sharp
at the launch of the
Mesothelioma Tissue bank

The following peice has been taken from their website.
To read the full website on this information go to
MesobanK UK
funded by the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund
and the British Lung Foundation
was launched in the House of Commons today.
The aim of the project is to establish
a tissue collection of mesothelioma tumours
supported by detailed clinical information
database about each sample.
At present there is no cure for mesothelioma
and average survival
from diagnosis is around one year.
In order to develop new treatments
for mesothelioma,
a better understanding of tumour biology is needed.

What will this Achieve?
The hope is to develop a valuable resource
for doctors and scientists
performing research on mesothelioma in the UK
and beyond which is believed to facilitate
and speed-up the developments
of new treatment, new research facility
to help tackle the 'neglected' cancer.
The MesobanK is the first dedicated bank
of mesothelioma tissue anywhere in Europe.

the extent of the problem.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer
that mainly affects the lining of the lungs
(also known as pleura).
It is almost always fatal,
with people surviving,
on average,
between just eight and 14 months
after their diagnosis.
It is usually associated with exposure to asbestos.
The UK has the highest rates of death
from mesothelioma
of any country in the world.
At a time when death rates for many
other cancers are falling,
the annual number of mesothelioma deaths
in the UK has nearly quadrupled
in the last 30 years.
The disease now kills around 2,300
UK residents a year -
more than cervical cancer,
testicular cancer,
thyroid cancer,
mouth cancer
and malignant melanoma.

although current rates of mesothelioma
are directly related to the heavy use of asbestos
in industry in the 1950s-70s,
asbestos wasn't completely banned
as a building material until 1999.
anyone working on a building,
built or renovated prior to this date
(either professionally or in amateur DIY)
could have come across asbestos,
potentially exposing themselves
to the hazardous fibres that,
if disturbed,
can lead to mesothelioma.

SentTo: Deidre vanGerven. Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Subject: RE: Neroli Sharp
Hello Deidre
This is Catherine,
Neroli's daughter.
She was taken into hospital
a couple of weeks ago
and has now been transferred to a hospice
where she will now remain.
The prognosis is not good,
the tumours are now around her heart
and she has had two clots
in her 'good' lung and an infection.
She has been given weeks
rather than months now.
Saying that,
although she is very breathless,
she is still quite positive
and is able to see all her friends and family.
She also feels safe where she is
and is happy to be there.
Mum is quite happy for her story
to be added so you can go ahead.
If you need any further information,
let me know. Regards. From: Catherine

Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
To: Deidre van Gerven.
Subject: Neroli Sharp
Mum passed away on the 14th August,
fortunately, very peacefully in the end
so we were all thankful for that.

Her exposure was in NZ only,
but she was diagnosed in the UK 3 years ago.
I am not really up to adding anything more at this stage.

Borrow all the beauty
that's round you everyday
Hold each lovely joy that life
has ever brought your way
Store your happy moments
so that every now and then
When your days aren't
quite so bright
They'll bring sunshine
back again

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On to Louise's Story.


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