To Those Who Fought

John Wisdom

26th November 2013
The dear husband of Jennifer, John was only diagnosed in May 2013 and his fight has been extremely short.  Having undergone chemotherapy and with the family around John took his wings at 2.45am this morning. 
My heartfelt sympathy to them all, especially Jennifer who was fought this battle with her husband tooth and nail.


Steve Cook

6th November 2013

Steve was diagnosed in 2012, he started to blog his journey with Mesothelioma and has shown such a stronge positive outlook throughout.  I will miss my fellow blogger and another who became friends in such a strong community that we all share. 

Rest In Peace Steve, my thoughts are with his wonderful wife Gail and the family and friends who cared for Steve.


Tom Crandall (O'Neill)

31st October 2013

Tom has fought courageously since October 2011, working as a cancer nurse he knew what to expect and I guess this didn't help as he closed up about talking about how the mesothelioma was paining him.  He went to the Bahama's for the new cancer immunotherapy treatment and had quite a lot of success with this.  Having had many pleura effusions and problems with is oesophagus it seems the cancer had spread rapidly in the course of 2 weeks.
Tom leaves behind a devoted wife, Lisa and two children.  Thankfully, he was able to witness his son's wedding earlier this year.  His love of the outside life will be what Tom will be remembered for.
My thoughts are with my good friend Lisa right now.




Christine Shippen

August 14th, 2013
Diagnosed in October 07, Chris underwent chemotherapy which kept her stable for a considerable time.  She leaves behind her beloved husband Dennis, Son, Andrew and Daughter, Lisa Marie and their families.
Chris and Dennis with new Grandchild


I was shocked to hear she had been taken ill only a couple of weeks ago, thankfully she died peacefully at home with her family by her side.  Christine never went on face book but her story can be found on many of the Mesothelioma websites where true stories are published.
She set up a SnowDrop fund many years ago for the MKMRF and raised a lot of money towards research of this terrible cancer.

Helen Pitcher
June 11th 2013
Helen April 2011

Helen sadly lost her life a few days after Debbie.  She had fought hard having surgery in 2008 then various trips to see Prof Vogl for his treatment.  Helen was full of life and both her and Barry enjoyed The Northern Soul music scene and are thought of highly in this community. 
I was so lucky to meet Barry and Helen in Los Angeles when I was out having treatment and they were attending a wedding, then after a concert up North they called in to meet the one and only Bear.  Helen radiated with life and has left a searing hole in Barry's heart.
Her love of family, friends and life make her passing so sad. 
Three strong Warriors died this week, I cannot forget to add Colin Walker, he is one of the youngest at 47 to be taken from our World.  Colin also leaves behind a young family.


Debbie Brewer
June 8th 2013
Mesothelioma and the name Debbie Brewer go hand in hand due to her constant interviews on TV and newspapers.  She united facebook for the world to fight Mesothelioma and Asbestos, putting the campaign above most everything else.  She would visit those recently diagnosed and give them a boost, helping calm their fears.

Debbie was diagnosed a couple of years after me, she campaigned for a new treatment after visiting Germany under Prof Vogl.  Her battle has been up and down, bringing awareness of this disease in the South Newspapers then up throughout the country.  She leaves behind 3 children, Kieran the youngest, who hopefully will follow his mam's dreams and go to college this September.
Debbie was well known throughout the Internet, her blog Mesothelioma and me was one of the first to record the journey of living with mesothelioma.  Recently made an Ambassador of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund. She helped unite the world in one cause, to Ban Asbestos.
She will be missed by the world of Meso Warriors.
Mr Tickle and Mr Robinson

Their fight took a lot of strength over the last few months but unfortunately they both lost their courageous battle in the early hours of New Years Eve.

No longer in pain here but their families will be for a long time to come.

Peter Stevens
19th November 2012
From Elaine
I wanted to tell everyone about the lovely day we had last Friday at the hospice. The year before last our eldest son Darren and partner Lisa were planning to get married. They already had Kayleigh who is six and then found out they were expecting Archie, so plans were put on hold. When Peter started deteriorating they realised that when they did get married it wouldn't be the same without him and really wanted him to be there. Unbeknown to us Lisa contacted Liz the chaplain at the hospice to ask if it would be possible for them to get married in the hospice chapel. She didn't hold out much hope as the premises are not licensed but that she would contact the Bishop. With great excitement Liz rang Lisa with the good news that the Bishop had granted permission for a pre-wedding blessing as it was special circumstances. Liz checked with the doctors that it would be ok for plans to go ahead and there was a week to organise the celebration. Liz was fantastic - she organised everything - flowers, service sheets, photography etc. Our younger son Michael and his fiancee Debby have a wedding planned for next August and this will still be going ahead but Darren thought it would be nice if Michael and Debby joined in with the pre-wedding blessing. They too thought it would be lovely for Peter and one celebration became two. Our elder daughter Samantha has two children - Kieran and Lucy and there was a mad dash to get outfits and dresses for the two girls who were to be bridesmaids. Samantha also made sponge cakes which I dashed home to ice on the Thursday and went back to the hospice to be with Peter for the night (I stayed every night). The next morning I popped back home, bought crisps, nibbles and soft drinks had quick shower and hairwash and dashed back to the hospice with Peter's clothes. The staff were fantastic - they gave Peter a full wash and brush up, dressed him in his finery, hoisted him in to a special chair and it was so lovely to see him, handsome as ever even though a little short on hair. I changed myself, applied a little war paint and then people started to arrive. Lisa had only ever wanted an understated wedding and only immediate family were presen including our younger daughter Juliette. We went in to the chapel and the marketing manager had offered to take all the photographs which was a lovely gesture. Liz had decorated the chapel beautifully with flowers and fairy lights - really magical. We had a lovely afternoon and Darren and Lisa had their wish for Peter to be there. They treated it as their wedding day and have booked the registry office for 10 December just to make it legal and sign on the dotted line. They will be taking just two witnesses and the children. Such a lovely thing for them to have done.


John Hayden Williams

10/10/1943 – 02/08/2012

John was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales before moving out to Australia.  He was a renowned Orienteer as well as a former Geography and English Teacher.  The love of his life, Rossana, became a dear friend when John was struck down with Mesothelioma.  He battle was with disease short due to the late diagnosis but he fought to the end.  He wrote this beautiful poem for Rossana which I would like to share on his behalf.
Meeting at Rosanna’s
Heads turn as you arrive:
A wild Wildean being.
The years have been more kind:
Your gaze gleams, your smile shimmers,
Your clothes blaze rainbowed hues,
Haunting my dazed senses like dyed dreams;
Bleak evening turns prematurely blithe.
You throw shadows, still anxious hearts,
Steal shriven souls with a slight smile.
You blow life into mine,
For you are in love …. with life!
Rossana’s words at the funeral:
“My darling John, the love of my life, together we have fought the battle so hard and you were so brave, but I promise you my darling, that the battle has not finished yet, because I will continue to fight against Mesothelioma with others. My darling, a tender thought that brings a tear, a silent wish that you were here.”

And love shall blossom,

Fluting freely in Spring's

Time of budded bliss,

Belled and balladed,

Brilliant bird of sun-birth,

Flown so swiftly south,

Then greenly gone
To Summer's mocking glade

Of dim-lit dreams,

Of shadowed souls

And garlands grey

That time forsook-

'Less love holds sway!

  John Williams


John Cameron

20th February 2012
Having only communicated several times with Jan and Johnny it still hurts to know that another person, a husband, father, Grandfather and Friend has died.
My thoughts and wishes are with the family.


Denise Sutcliffe

9th November 2012
Denise was on 59 when she died of mesothelioma, diagnosed in April of this year.  A lovely lady who had worked all her life caring for others.  She has two wonderful daughters Lou and Kelly, grandchildren and a partner, she was loved by the community where she lived and will be missed by a lot of people

Ken Beer

8th July 2011
Ken was a healthy, active & happy with life guy.  He started to have some breathing problems in Nov. 2010 and visited the Dr. at his workplace.  The breathing difficulties were only present when he was quite active and having had asthma as a child that is what was suspected.  We went through a great Christmas, went out with friends New Year's eve and danced the night away. Ken said he was tired and just couldn't seem to shake it, by Jan 6/2011 we ended up in the emergency department of our local hospital fearing pneumonia. They did a chest x-ray and a CAT scan within 15 minutes of our arrival, I felt in my heart none of this was a good sign. Ken wasn't a smoker so lung cancer was the furtherest thing from our minds. The doctors ask us a lot of questions, the one that they kept coming back to was, "have you ever worked with asbestos" our answer was no, never. Ken's lung had collapsed and there was a large fluid build-up in his chest.  They drained the fluid from his chest and told us to return on the Monday to do another scan, no one really told us what they suspected  but we knew it was worse than anything we'd imagined.  We went home with oxygen knowing that our lives were forever changed. We saw a thoracic surgeon in Jan. and they did a biopsy and a talc procedure on Jan. 25th. They were able to re-inflate the top 2/3rds of Ken's lung. It wasn't until Feb. that we were given a name to the disease, they told us this was what they'd feared. It was explained that his was a mixed cell pleural mesothelioma (the worst kind). Ken was going to try anything to survive, the only option given to us at this point was chemo. He went through 5 treatments, having no ill effects from the chemo & weening himself off the oxygen we were able to continue "living a normal life" as Ken referred to it.  We golfed, enjoyed the company of friends and family and tried to be positive. A scan after the 4th treatment showed no new growth and we remained hopeful, then suddenly it all changed.  Up to that point Ken had had no pain, on June 8th (those dates are so vivid in my mind) the pain came with a vengeance. The morphine doses kept increasing until June 26th (my birthday) he had a very high fever and we went to the hospital.  Ken & I ended up spending the last days in the palliative care unit of our hospital with kind & caring doctors & nurses who attended to Ken's pain and tried to help me deal with what was happening to us. We were able to spend our last 12 days together, Ken accepting what was happening and me still praying for a miracle. Ken passed away on July 8th, 2011 just 6 month & 2 days after becoming sick.
I would like to thank his wife for writing this and allowing me to share.

Alan Foot
28th June 2011
I met Alan at the Carer's day that was held up in Gateshead.  There will be a great void in Heather's life and the rest of the family but also to the many people up and down the country who knew him too.  Together with Heather they were a formable team, champion the need for more information and treatment on behalf of so many of us with this terrible cancer.
On behalf of many mesothelioma sufferer's thank you for all the right questions you asked and all the points you raised. 
When I went for surgery Alan and Heather offered to come and visit me in Sheffield, we hadn't met but they were willing to travel and help make light of my situation, to bring comfort and laughter.  I for one will always be in your debt.

Heather does untold work behind the scene still for Mesothelioma.  How she can after losing her soul mate is commendable. 
Joanne A. (Wisher) Martin

Dec. 20, 1943-May 14, 2011

Sent from her sister Linda
Surrounded by her family at home, Joanne went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after a hard fought battle with cancer. Joanne is survived by Neil her husband of 48 years, brother Ralph and Karen Wisher, sister Linda & Dean Johnson, and brother Gary Derush, children, Ryan, Kyle and Leslie Martin, Shannon and Darin March, and Chad and Heidi Martin, and grandchildren, Mckenzie, Melene', Madeline, Kaylee, Mason, Conner, Marlee, Meredeth, Maverick, Maxton, Miley, Mallory and McKennah.

She was born and raised in the Tri-Cities, a Kennewick High School graduate (1962), and business student at CBC. An extremely hard worker, Joanne was the Office Manager for Martin Business Systems in their successful family owned business, along with being a farmer's wife helping with the animals and crops on the family farms. Prior to this, she worked at Pischel's Publishing and as a meat wrapper for 13 years.

Early on in her husband's minor league baseball career, Joanne helped scrapbook for his teams. She enjoyed travel, camping, hunting, fishing and spent many summers and holidays in Montana and Leavenworth. She was happiest when she was cooking large meals for her family, siblings, and friends. She was passionate in designing her home and yard. In addition, her pies and house plants won blue ribbons at the Benton Franklin Fair. She was a regular blood donor until her health would not permit. Joanne's life was focused on her faith, family and friends. She had a gift for rhyming words together to entertain along with her infectious wit and humor.
As a loving Christian mother, her happiest times were spent with family, or involved in her children's and grand children's schools, sports, and careers. Joanne played 15 years as pitcher on the women's 1st Baptist church softball team. She was an active member for 44 years within the church, and read her bible daily for 18 years from cover to cover. Joanne served the Lord in many ways such as opening their home to many youth and adults over the years, including the caretaking of her parents. As a role model she taught Sunday school, VBS and enjoyed helping with various church functions. By her actions you could observe her Christian faith knowing she was a Believer.

Linda contacted both Debbie and I last year looking for answers and treatments.  Joanne finally choose surgery with Dr Cameron at UCLA.  She was scheduled to have radiotherapy as a follow up but by the time she found a clinic near her own home to carry out the procedure,  the meso had returned. 

Both Debbie and I send our thoughts to the family.

January 2011
Danny contacted me back in December 09 and kindly wrote his story on the Website.  He underwent two full cycles of chemo between June 2006 and again in October 2008.  Unfortunately in July 2010 he started with familiar symptoms and returned to a 3rd run of Chemo, without the desired effect.   
I was lucky enough to become acquainted with him and his sense of humour shined out the most.  Every month he would remind me of the meso meeting at Washington and every month I would forget, my only regret is that we never did get to meet.  His sense of humour helped him and his family through the hard months from November until the time he passed away, he didn't want sympathy when the news wasn't good, he always seemed to look on the bright side.   He was so looking forward to the arrival of his grandchild and thankfully managed to spend a few months being called Granddad to a beautiful little girl. 
He passed away January 2011 but I will never forget him - a brave man on a terrible journey.  My thoughts are with his wife.



My Dad was such a brave strong man and battled hard against a disease where the odds were very much stacked against him and I have nothing but admiration and love for him.

My Dad packed so much into his 61 years and he fully loved and embraced life. I have so many fantastic memories of him, the stories, the wind ups!!! (which I always fell for!!) We could talk for hours my Dad and me and the huge gap that he leaves in my life will never be filled as my Dad is irreplaceable.

Dad was so strict with me when I was growing up, not so much with the other two and he used to say “it’s because I love you, when you have children of you own you will understand” I never did understand. Then I had Grace and Gene and everything he said made total sense, he loved us all so much, unconditionally and with every bone in his body and that is why he made decisions that sometimes did not make sense.

He taught us to be genuine and honest and at all times to be yourself. As well as being my Dad he was also my best friend, who I would confide in and ask for guidance on a regular basis. Somehow it does not seem real that he is not here with us. Dying was never part of your plan, was it? You were like Peter Pan!! I hope today is what you would have wanted surrounded by friends and family that loved you.

Mum, I would like to thank you for looking after and loving Dad during really difficult times especially in the last couple of months.

Kevin I am so proud of you and the man that you have become. My first blue eyed boy has done good!!! Dad will never be beaten but you are not far behind him.

Sharon thank you for all your love and support and help – I couldn’t have done it without you.

Dad I miss you so much already, please continue to look after me from Heaven xxx Love you

Read by Karen at her Dad's Funeral



Keith Baker

In Memory of Keith Baker as written by his wife

Whilst thinking about what I wanted to say today I looked up the meaning of the name ‘ Keith’ . This made me smile as it means

‘’ Woodland forest’’ ! and those of you who knew Keith well , will know that he was passionate about woods and trees. So Keith’s Mum and Dad couldn’t have chosen a better name for him.

Keith had an enormous zest for life and as a child he loved to be outdoors and would often tell us of how he used to play on Dawes Lane common, catch fish in the river Chess and how he climbed everyone of the trees along the footpath from the River Chess all the way up to the Rectory in Sarratt, I’m not sure if that was all in one day , but knowing Keith it probably was !! .

Keith was a talented craftsman and you will see loads of examples of the quality of his work in Sarratt, Chipperfield and the surrounding area’s. He loved the outdoor life and thrived on the beauty of our natural surroundings, often reminding us how privileged we were to live in such a beautiful area. His knowledge of nature and wildlife was second to none and he had a huge passion for bird watching . Close friends will remember sitting watching and listening to birds whilst keith amazed us with his knowledge of different birds and their individual songs.

Keith took on the challenge of fighting Mesothelioma with his usual courage, he fought with everything he had and this was recognised by the Doctors who treated him , John Edwards his surgeon in Sheffield, said of Keith on hearing he had passed away, ‘’ Every patient with Mesothelioma is special to me, but Keith was truly exceptional. He had tremendous spirit and determination and deserved more than any of us could give. It is people like Keith that drive me on to find a cure .’’

At some of our darkest moments during keith’s illness we would try to think of some of the positive things that had happened, it may sound strange but there were some . In particular the inspirational people that we met during our journey with Mesothelioma and there are a few people I would like to mention and thank:

I would also like to thank my fantastic family, friends and Neighbours who have also been on this journey with us and whose support has been invaluable.

Keith August 2009

Keith had surgery in September 2009


Dave Salisbury

10th December 2005
My Dad had been a fit and healthy man until he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma aged 71 in February 2005. He couldn't drive, so regularly walked, loved gardening, playing bowls, genealogy and doing all our DIY. Dad spent his entire working life at Eastleigh Railway Works and was exposed to asbestos during his job as a vehicle builder there. My Dad Dave Salisbury lost his fight with mesothelioma on 10 December 2005 aged 72. Leaving his broken hearted wife Betty, daughters Diane and Lynne, son in law Steve and grandchildren, Molly, Katie, Faye and James.

I would like to thank his Daughter for writing this and allowing me to share it.