A former school cleaner who developed terminal cancer has launched legal action against her employers claiming a major refurbishment exposed her to deadly asbestos dust.
Jennie Moore, 53, was devastated when she was told he had the fatal lung condition in June 2014 after visiting her doctor with a persistent cough.
The grandmother-of-six believes she contracted the deadly disease while employed as a cleaner at Blackheath and Bluecoat school while workmen carried out potentially hazardous building works.
She has now instructed law firm Slater and Gordon to investigate her case against London Borough of Greenwich and is appealing to former work colleagues, teachers or pupils at the school with information to come forward.
Mrs Moore, who has three children and six grandchildren, said: “It was devastating to be told that I had cancer – nothing can prepare you or your family for hearing that news.
“I had worked hard my whole life and now I know that I my life is coming to an end I want to find out who is responsible to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
Mrs Moore first visited her doctor in July 2013 after developing a persistent cough and was initially diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed a course of antibiotics.
When her cough grew worse and she also developed a pain in her chest, she went back to her GP and was told she had a gastric problems and given tablets.
In May 2014 Mrs Moore returned to her doctor as her symptoms continued to worsen and she was sent to QE Hospital in Woolwich for a chest x-ray before being transferred to Guy’s Hospital for a biopsy.
A month later doctors revealed the mother-of-three had malignant Mesothelioma, forcing her to undergo five cycles of chemotherapy to keep the cancer at bay.
She said: “I’ve always been a hard worker and I was holding down two jobs when I started to notice I was becoming breathless. I thought I must be rundown but I went to the doctors when it didn’t go away.
“By the time it was diagnosed I knew something was seriously wrong but nothing can prepare you for the news like that. It’s now a case of how long I have left.
“I was very close with my grandparents and have always been very close with my own grandchildren. It is so terribly sad to know I won’t get to see them grow up. It’s worse with the younger ones who may not even remember me.”
Mrs Moore says she knows she does not have long to live and is now appealing to former work colleagues to help her find out how she developed the deadly lung condition before she dies.
She said: “It is so important to be to be able to trace back which employer was responsible for this cancer. I worry other colleagues may have suffered the same illness so I want to raise awareness.
“I also want to make sure that people and employers are aware of the dangers posed by asbestos so they can keep themselves safe. No one should suffer like I have.”
Mrs Moore is keen to speak with former colleagues particularly from Blackheath and Bluecoat School where she worked as a cleaner between 1990 and 1998.
She said: “I remember at one stage there were contractors with white boiler suits ripping out the pipework which I believe had been lagged with asbestos.
“There were warning signs erected in the area warning of the presence of asbestos in the cupboard areas. The area had also sheeting placed around it but this was loose.
“The contractors were wearing white paper suits from head to toe and were also wearing respirators but nothing like that was given to me.
“The area was very dusty and dirty and I believe that the pipe lagging was being removed during this time yet no safety measures were made for cleaners. It’s not right.”
Slater and Gordon Lawyer Edmund Young, representing Mrs Moore, said: "Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer for which there is sadly no cure and once diagnosed it can be very aggressive and painful.
“Sadly we see all too often the tragic effects of mesothelioma in later life because workers were not provided with the correct safeguards decades earlier.
“We would appeal to any former colleagues of Mrs Moore who have information which could assist her case to come forward and help her and her family gain the justice they deserve.”
Edmund Young is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, specialising in industrial disease claims including asbestos-related diseases.
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