Another heartfelt plea to Cape/Altrad from a daughter whose father sadly, passed away from mesothelioma.
Hannah describes how her father’s death tore through her family and she remains unable to comprehend and move on from their loss. The letter reads:
Dear Mr. Oren,
Re: Disclosure of Cape documents and £10m mesothelioma research donation
I am writing to you in appeal for your company to act ethically and donate £10 million to fund the research on this horrific cancer to which we lost my father, Christopher Larkin in April 2021.
Dad played the French horn for the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 36 years; he first noticed breathing difficulties in 2019 and consequently visited A&E where he had 2 litres of fluid drained from his lungs. The diagnosis of mesothelioma soon followed, having a devastating impact on him and the rest of the family, his friends and colleagues. My mother cared for him during Covid in utter despair, particularly when he was crippled in a pain that none of us could take away. We battled continuously when trying to communicate with specialists, some of whom were superb, others who saw him as a patient and not a person. We had to consider and reconsider decisions regarding the right treatment; we gambled with immunotherapy and lost, resulting in a small heart attack.
He and mum were about to celebrate 50 years of marriage and had been blessed with a grandchild on whom he doted. He had started to write a book on the history of the horn and was still playing in professional concerts and travelling to France, enjoying his much earned retirement. Dad’s subsequent demise was almost too much to bear. It tore through our family and I remain unable to comprehend and move on from the loss and events associated with his death.
At present, there is no cure for this cruel cancer, only the willingness of researchers who need cash to fund much needed investigations into mesothelioma. I personally have been in meetings with the Asbestos Awareness Groups where oncologists have spoken about how close they are to finding enzymes that act as buffers to slow the process down, yet they cannot work with such little funding.
We will never come to terms with the knowledge that this cancer was entirely preventable. If the warnings on the dangers of asbestos had been acted upon, thousands of families would not have had to mourn the loss of so many loved ones. I want you to understand the impact asbestos has had on our family and the millions of sufferers this substance is painfully killing. I ask you to consider how you would feel if the health of a much loved family member had been compromised by someone else’s need to make a fat profit?
To find out that Cape, one of the largest asbestos companies in the world, knowingly and deliberately withheld from the authorities the real danger of their asbestos products, for profit, has added to our trauma. This would never have come to light, but for the legal case taken by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum (AVSGF) to force disclosure of Cape’s documents.
I am outraged, incensed and will never forgive Cape for putting so many lives at risk.
Your company, Altrad, bought Cape in 2017 and has benefitted financially from the purchase of a very profitable company. From 2017 to 2020 Cape, at enormous cost, fought AVSGF in court to prevent disclosure of its historical documents, when you should have simply handed over the documents for public health reasons. Instead, you were prepared to pay excessive amounts in legal fees to defend the indefensible. The documents are significant for public health reasons because Cape Asbestolux was used in the construction of schools, hospitals and many other public buildings. These buildings are now deteriorating and schoolteachers, pupils, doctors, nurses and many others are being exposed to asbestos by simply being present in them. It is significant that the younger the age a person has been exposed to asbestos, the higher the risk, that person is likely to develop mesothelioma.
On average there are just over 5,000 deaths from asbestos cancers per year. This figure includes just over 2,500 deaths from mesothelioma. That is why AVSGF has campaigned for Altrad/Cape to honour its moral obligation to atone for the destruction of so many lives by donating £10 million towards mesothelioma research, which it intends to give to Asthma + Lung UK, a charity experienced in conducting such research. Melanoma used to have one of the lowest survival rates but after much funding, it is now survivable.
Yours is a multinational company with huge resources, still trading profitably despite your group President, billionaire Mohed Altrad, being convicted in December 2022 in the French Courts for bribery and misuse of corporate assets. I want you to understand the impact a significant donation for mesothelioma research would have, and in addition, would atone for the humanity your company appears to be missing.
My hope is that you will now agree to such a donation. We will never give up on this vital campaign in honour of all those who have needlessly died and to give those who are suffering, some hope for the future.
We will remember the dead and continue to fight for those living with this agonising cancer.