Gateshead Grandad to take part in 42nd Great North Run for asbestos cancer

Ron Snaith, will be raising money for Mesothelioma UK.

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A Gateshead grandad will be participating in his 42nd Great North Run, to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos.

Ron Snaith, from Ryton in Gateshead, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a terminal form of cancer, which is linked to asbestos exposure, in December 2018.

During his employment in shipyards in Tyneside and further afield, Ron said that asbestos was used, but neither he nor his colleagues knew of the dangers back then.

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, Ron was told he had around eight months to live.

Irwin Mitchell, a solicitors located in Newcastle, are investigating Ron’s exposure. Irwin Mitchell were able to secure a settlement from a previous employer of Ron’s which has enabled the 68-year-old Grandad to receive private treatment and clinical trials.

Ron (who is affectionately known as Great North Ron), and an asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, Ian Toft are teaming up to do the Great North Run 2023 together, which will take place tomorrow (Sunday, September 10).

Ian said: “Understandably the past few years haven’t been easy for Ron as he came to terms with his diagnosis and what it means for him and his family. However, he’s shown such strength and courage as he attempts to continue living his life as he always has.

“As an avid runner, he really doesn’t want to give it up. To have completed more than 40 Great North Runs is an incredible achievement that he and his family should be immensely proud of.

“Sadly Ron’s case is typical of those we’ve been involved in where many of Tyneside’s shipyard workers have gone on to develop mesothelioma many years after their exposure occurred. It’s another reminder of the terrible legacy asbestos has created in the region.

“While nothing can change what Ron and his loved one’s have been through, we’re pleased to have been able to secure funding to help Ron access private treatment and ease the financial burdens of everyday life.

“Ron is a real inspiration to so many and is determined to help others affected by mesothelioma by raising awareness of the risks still posed by asbestos.

“It will be a privilege for me to run alongside him this weekend.”

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Ron said: “When I was given my diagnosis, it was a huge shock as I had always been healthy and loved to keep fit.  I regularly walked, ran and cycled, and I even played football until I was 60.

“So to find out I had mesothelioma completely floored me, and then to be told that I had limited life left was absolutely devastating.

“My condition is slowly worsening and I suffer from pain and shortness of breath, but I’m still quite fit and healthy and determined to keep living my life to the full as best I can.

“Over the past few months, I’ve been training for the Great North Run.  I’ve done it 41 times before and I won’t let anything stop me from getting to number 42.  But I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support I’ve had from Denise, my family, friends, and also my legal team who have helped me get the treatment I need.

“Sadly nothing will change what I’m going through, so all I want to do now is help others by raising awareness around mesothelioma and how dangerous asbestos is.  It’s awful to think that when I worked at the shipyards, my workmates and I would throw snowballs made of it.  We were totally unaware of the risks back then.

Ron Snaith will be participated in the Great North Run for the 42nd time.Ron Snaith will be participated in the Great North Run for the 42nd time.
Ron Snaith will be participated in the Great North Run for the 42nd time.

Ron continued: “I have a saying – if you don’t use it, you lose it – and it’s really important for me to challenge myself and keep going as long as I can.  I’m still here more than four-and-a-half years and I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me get here.”

While raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos, Ron and Ian will also be raising money for Mesothelioma UK.