North Wales, UK – A woman who successfully sued those responsible for her mesothelioma passed away on October 15th after a long battle with the deadly cancer.
Dianne Willmore, 49, was first exposed to asbestos as a student at Huyton’s Bowring School in Merseyside, England in the 1970s. Diagnosed in 2007, Willmore has been fighting the mesothelioma cancer, and the town council responsible for her exposure to asbestos, for over two years.
A high court made its initial ruling in July, saying Willmore should be owed monetary damages from the Knowsley Council for her suffering. The council appealed the ruling, which was finalized once more in Willmore’s favor the night before her death.
During the trial, Willmore claimed she and other students were exposed to asbestos in their school, from the ceiling tiles in the lavatories. Asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, which affects thousands of people worldwide every year. Although not all persons exposed to the harmful fibers will develop mesothelioma, a large percentage will develop some sort of related disease in the years following exposure.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, a sensitive membrane that lines our vital organs. When friable, deteriorating asbestos fibers are breathed in, they can become embedded in the mesothelium, unable to be expelled. Asbestos fibers are unable to be broken down by the body’s natural processes, instead building up after each exposure. The latency period of mesothelioma can be many decades, and the signs of the cancer may not be clear until it has progressed into the latest stages of cancer.
Many mesothelioma victims only live a few months after diagnosis, because the cancer’s progression is too great to treat effectively. Willmore’s two years is a standout among patients. Her attorneys described Willmore as a courageous and brave woman. They welcomed the court’s final ruling from Wednesday; saying welcomed the ruling, saying it could “affect many more people suffering from the disease.”