Killer lung disease gets new support website

The Silicosis Support Network has recently launched their new website in support of people diagnosed with the deadly Silicosis disease. Many professionals in the health sector thought asbestos related disease was a massive tragedy that couldn’t happen again – well it is happening again, but this time it’s called Silicosis, with an estimated 450 cases in Australia and hundreds more undergoing health screening.

The new support website shares the journey of Daniel Lewis, a stonemason and father of two young daughters. In November 2018, Daniel was diagnosed with accelerated Silicosis. At 32 years young, he has been assessed as having a ‘terminal condition’, a direct result of his occupation. Time Daniel spends with his family is now extremely precious as there is no cure for this deadly lung disease.

Daniel says: “I try and stay active but it’s a struggle. I can barely kick the ball with the kids for 10 minutes without stopping to catch my breath, the kids don’t get it. I hate that they see me like that, but that’s the legacy of Silicosis”.

How do you tell your young children you have a terminal disease and that you may well not be around for many important milestones in their lives? How does your partner cope with this knowledge and an uncertain future for your family? The new website helps with these issues.

Silicosis is caused by exposure to silica dust, occurring when the human body is unable to break-down or remove certain types of dust once it has entered deep into the lungs. A recent surge in the number of Australians being diagnosed with this fatal disease has been driven by a decade long trend of installing.

engineered stone benchtops in new houses and home renovations, with thousands of workers having inhaled dangerous amounts of silica dust over this time. Regulation of the industry that manufactures and installs silica-based products is in the process of being improved but is not likely to be enacted until around mid-2021. Tragically, the number of cases being diagnosed is now rising very quickly and forecast to grow substantially over the next decade.

Daniel now helps support other sufferers of Silicosis, working with support groups and acting as a mentor with the Silicosis Support Network (SSN), sharing his experience of the disease and helping other sufferers understand their condition. Importantly, Daniel and other sufferers of Silicosis have assisted with the development of this new website to ensure the information provided is valid and relevant to the needs of Silicosis sufferers, their families and caregivers.

The website was developed with funding from the Queensland Department of Health and is administered by the Asbestos Disease Support Society (ADSS).

Services provided by the SSN include:

  • Social worker support
  • Individual, peer and group support
  • Information and resources

The website can be found at: www.silicosissupport.org.au

More information: Trevor Torrens – Mobile: 0435 895 928

The Silicosis Support Network is a support service/function of the Asbestos Disease Support Society which was established in 1992 to support sufferers of asbestos related diseases, their families and carers. The Society is a not-for-profit charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

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