Julie's Story

Julie’s Story is part of a campaign to raise awareness of asbestos-related diseases

Asbestos Claims Journey

There are over 5,000 asbestos disease-related deaths every year in the UK. For those who are diagnosed with incurable conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or asbestos-related lung cancer, all of which result from a degree of asbestos exposure, the news can devastate entire families.

The nature of these conditions means that symptoms usually don’t show for some time, often decades after the exposure, so the news can come as a real shock to everyone.

Julie’s Story is part of a campaign to raise awareness of asbestos-related diseases across the UK and to let the victims and their families know that there might be a way for them to seek some compensation and a measure of justice for their illness and suffering.

A large proportion of people who develop these types of condition had previously worked in heavy industry or the construction/building trade. However, this was certainly not the case for Julie Sykes.

Julie worked as a clothing sorter for a textile company based in South Yorkshire in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This scenario doesn’t naturally lend itself to asbestos exposure, but, unfortunately, the heating system at the premises was lagged with asbestos, meaning that whenever it was disturbed, asbestos entered the atmosphere where the staff worked.

It wasn’t until Julie started having breathing difficulties, over thirty years later, that it was discovered she was suffering from mesothelioma, an aggressive and incurable form of asbestos-related lung cancer. It was after her diagnosis that Julie and her family contacted Dedicated Accident Solicitors to see if they could help her to claim some compensation for her illness, as it had only occurred as a result of her exposure to asbestos at work.

Once Dedicated Accident Solicitors started their investigation, it became apparent that the company Julie used to work for had since ceased trading, but, by locating the company’s insurers, it was still possible for Dedicated Accident Solicitors to bring a case forward, which they successfully did, and they were able to obtain a significant compensation sum for the Sykes family. Although Julie has very sadly now passed away, the family report that the knowledge of justice being done on her behalf has given them some measure of peace and comfort at this very difficult time.

Read how Julie’s husband, Malcolm, tells their story in his own words below:

If you’re looking for more information about asbestos-related diseases or the next steps to take if you, or a member of your close family, have been diagnosed with one, please contact us

Transcript of Julie’s Story, as told by her husband Malcolm:

I met Julie at a youth club. I went down and met her; we hit it off from there.

It was a big shock, when we were at Barnsley and she got diagnosed with cancer. That was a big shock; because we knew we’d have to tell the lads. She’d started to get backache a lot, so I took her to hospital and they started doing tests. We thought something was up because she was in really bad pain. We were waiting in the corridor to go through for the results of the tests, and I saw two Macmillan nurses come down with a doctor and another nurse. Julie looked at me and said “That doesn’t look good”, and I said “No, it doesn’t. Not with Macmillan nurses going in.” They fetched us into the room and that was when they said, with all of the tests they’d done, they’d found that she’d got cancer.

So, they started her on Chemo at Sheffield and I used to go and sit with her all day. It was looking good; but, then they got in touch, one of the top surgeons. She went under a nine-hour operation and, within three days, she was up in her chair; even the nurses couldn’t believe how quickly she came around. I said “she’s small, but she’s a bloody fighter.”

She seemed to be picking up, and then, next minute, she was down. I think myself that Julie knew the cancer had come back. She never said it was; she just said that she was in some pain, but for me, the cancer had come back.

When we got to find out about you (Dedicated Accident Solicitors), she said “I’ll have an interview with John and see”. When she’d come back in after she’d talked to you, she said “I’m going to let John (DAS) take the case on, because I’ve got a good chance of winning with John.”

I’ve praised you for what you’ve done for Julie; admittedly, she’s not here, but she would have been over the moon.

John Das is a top solicitor. I’d recommend him to anybody, because he’s a good bloke and he knows his job.

John DAS transcript:

I’m John Das, the Director of Dedicated Accident Solicitors and one of only thirty two solicitors in the UK to be recognised as a national asbestos disease specialist, by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Julie worked as a sorter in a large textile company, based in South Yorkshire in the late 70s and early 80s, and the boiler and associated pipework was lagged with asbestos. When the asbestos was disturbed, it was released into the atmosphere, and that was how Julie, unfortunately, became exposed to asbestos.

About thirty years after being exposed to asbestos, Julie became short of breath and tests revealed that she was suffering from Mesothelioma, an aggressive and incurable form of asbestos-related lung cancer. Sadly, Julie is no longer with us, but the family were determined to obtain justice on her behalf. The compensation that they received has given them some peace and closure in the knowledge that both we, and they, did our very best on her behalf.

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