Leading women campaigning for occupational cancer prevention celebrated on International Women’s Day

Mavis Nye, Linda Reinstein and Liz Darlison have worked tirelessly to help raise awareness of preventing asbestos exposure at work, which claims the lives of well over 100,000 people a year.

On International Women’s Day (08 March), the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is shining a light on the excellent work of all three women, who are also official supporters of its No Time to Lose – working together to beat occupational cancer campaign.

Mavis Nye was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009. She contracted the disease following exposure to asbestos dust while washing her husband Ray’s clothes when he worked as an apprentice at the Chatham dockyard in Kent in the 1950s.

After her diagnosis, Mavis went on to set up the Mavis Nye Foundation to inspire other mesothelioma sufferers. One of the key aims of the charity is clinical research for the treatment of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The foundation provides young people training to be doctors with an opportunity to apply for a research grant in the field of mesothelioma. Recent highlights also include sponsoring a Mesothelioma UK nurse for Kent and Canterbury.

On 9 July 2019, Mavis and Ray were awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Kent for their tireless work to raise awareness of cancer caused by asbestos.

Mavis said: “We were so honoured, and after the wonderful speech the Orator gave to introduce us and our speech, and to see everyone give us a standing ovation, we were in tears. The whole day was magical, and we feel so honoured.”

“I’ve had a great response from IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign as I retweet and share on Facebook and LinkedIn. I deliver presentations wherever anyone will listen to me because I’ve got this fight on. I want to make the world safe. I don’t want anyone to suffer with this dreadful disease.”

Linda Reinstein is the co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent non-profit in the US dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure, eliminating asbestos-related diseases, and protecting asbestos victims’ civil rights through education, advocacy, and community initiatives.

She set up the organisation in 2004 following her husband Alan Reinstein’s mesothelioma diagnosis. Alan sadly passed away in 2006 at the age of 66.

Linda said: “As a mesothelioma widow, asbestos-caused deaths are beyond painful for the patient and leave a shattered family behind. It’s inexcusable for anyone to be exposed to this known carcinogen in the 21st Century. Most people in the United States don’t realise that asbestos is still legally imported and used, causing over 40,000 deaths each year.”

ADAO organises Global Asbestos Awareness Week every year from 1-7 April to increase awareness of asbestos and how to prevent exposure. During the week, it hosts its annual Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference which brings together experts and leaders from around the world who present the latest information to advance prevention and treatment.

ADAO is also a leader in asbestos prevention and policy. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 (ARBAN) has gained significant momentum and is expected to make its way to the US House of Representatives’ floor for a vote in the upcoming months. Through strong collaborations, ADAO has also built educational programs such as the ‘Know Asbestos’ website to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos and how to prevent exposure.

Linda said: “ADAO supports the great efforts of IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign to prevent occupational cancer. At the moment prevention remains the only cure. By working together, we can raise awareness and save lives from asbestos-related diseases.”

Liz Darlison, consultant nurse at the University Hospitals of Leicester and Head of Services for national charity Mesothelioma UK, was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.

Liz works at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, focusing on the treatment and care of mesothelioma patients. Liz established Mesothelioma UK in 2004 and continues to lead this national charity for asbestos-related cancer, based in Leicester.

Mesothelioma UK funds a growing number (currently 26) of mesothelioma clinical nurse specialists in NHS hospitals across the UK. Each is a beacon of expertise across their region; experienced and skilled in all matters relevant to the latest understanding, support, treatment, care and prevention of mesothelioma. The charity also has a comprehensive grants programme funding a broad range of mesothelioma research and audits.

Liz said: “I was absolutely delighted to be awarded with an MBE. It is testament to the continued work of our wonderful NHS and shows that nursing is an amazing career. To be awarded an MBE is a wonderful achievement for Mesothelioma UK, our supporters and team, who all combine to help this amazing charity to do what it does so well.

“The No Time to Lose Asbestos campaign launch event provided an excellent networking opportunity for groups and organisations allied to the asbestos challenges we face in the UK. I encourage everyone to log on to the website and look at the resources, they are excellent and very user friendly.”


To find out more about IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign and to become a supporter, visit this webpage. Follow @_NTTL on Twitter and use the hashtag #NTTL

For more information about International Women’s Day, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ or use the hashtag #IWD2020 on social media.