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Former Wagin High School student calls for help in cancer case

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Media Release

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A former student of Wagin Junior High School, recently diagnosed with the asbestos related cancer Mesothelioma, believes he was exposed to the deadly fibres during renovations at the site in the 1970’s.

John McDonald, now 49, was diagnosed with metastatic Mesothelioma in July last year and is in a race against time to try to pin point exactly where and when he was exposed to asbestos fibres so he can seek asbestos compensation.

Mr McDonald has asked local law firm Slater and Gordon to help him with his case. Slater and Gordon lawyer Tricia Wong is urging former students, teachers or builders who were at the Wagin Junior High School in the early 1970’s and who can remember the renovations to contact the law firm.

“We have evidence confirming that James Hardie’s asbestos building materials were used in renovations and additions to the school.”

“However, Mr McDonald needs help from others who were at the school at the same time to be able to mount a case for compensation,” she said.

She said an additional concern is that other students and teachers may also have been exposed at the school in the 1970’s are therefore at risk of developing an asbestos related disease.

The head of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA), Robert Vojakovic, said Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that mainly attacks the lining of the lungs, abdomen and the heart.

“We are seeing more and more people being diagnosed with asbestos malignancies and other related illnesses. Mesothelioma has a long incubation period, from usually 20-60 years after exposure to asbestos for symptoms to arise.”

“Although asbestos is no longer used, these insidious asbestos products made their way into the wider community through its use in everyday products.  They were used in more than 3,000 products such as insulation, carpet underlay, vehicle brake pads, fire retardant, in kitchen appliances and building products,” said Mr Vojakovic.

“The asbestos diseases epidemic is expected to peak in Australia around 2025. As many as 45,000 people could die over the next two decades if an effective treatment or cure is not found,” he said.

Anyone with information that could help Mr McDonald should contact Slater and Gordon on (08) 9223 4838.