SHP has announced the list of the most influential people in health and safety, voted for by you, recognising Dr Mavis Nye as 2021’s ‘Most Influential’ for her work as a campaigner, supporting and raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and supporting those who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma.
Mavis has been described as a ‘tour de force, and an absolute dynamo for Asbestos Awareness’. She lives with Mesothelioma every day of her life, having been diagnosed a few years ago, and spends her life campaigning for asbestos awareness and removal.
Mavis’ story begins in the 1950’s, aged 15, when she met at an apprentice in the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Ray, who was to become her lifelong partner. During their meetings, he would have on his clothes the fine invisible dust of asbestos. No one at that time warned them that this would in later life become a major issue. It would resurface again 49 years later, in 2009, when Mavis became aware that her breathing was laboured, and she quickly became unable to breathe.
After weeks of tests and Biopsies, she was given the news that she had Mesothelioma. It was explained that it was a Terminal Cancer, that there was no cure and no treatment available. The prognosis was a life expectancy of about three months. Mavis spent the following years on Chemotherapy and failed Drug trials.
It was early on during her treatment, that she decided something needed to be done. Today her work is internationally recognised, and she has normalised the conversation around Mesothelioma. Supported by many influential people, she is in demand for presentations to spread the word.
Asbestos is one of the largest causes of occupational death in the UK and Mavis has been the first person to galvanise all sides of the debate. From a standing start and with no formal training in the field, she has risen to be a touchstone for the victims across the globe.
On learning of her success, Mavis told SHP: “I can’t believe this, what a great ending to 2021. I never thought I stood a chance as the list held so many of my heroes.
“I was honored to be on there with all of you and you are all winners in my eyes. I value your friendship, but how wonderful to raise so much awareness to asbestos and the diseases it has caused and carries on causing.
“I will strive to get the Mavis Nye Foundation raising donations to be able to finance research, as it is only through research that I’m still alive today.
“I’m the longest living Mesothelioma Patient on Immunotherapy, as I have survived 13 years in 2022. I have a mission to be the voice for all Mesowarriors past and present.
“I will continue in 2022 within the NHS as a patient rep, but also being an Asbestos activist and presenting my talks calling for every tradesman etc to keep safe and protect their lungs from any dust.
“We didnt realise in the 50’s and 60’s, but we have no excuse today and in the future. We know Asbestos and dust kills.”
Click here to read more from the Mavis Nye Foundation.
Click here for the full top-15 list of the most influential people in health and safety.
SHP Most Influential is brought to you as part of the wider SHP Awards which, for 2021, is in collaboration with Shirley Parsons, HSEQ talent experts. It recognises those who are successfully creating sound health and safety cultures in their organisations, or the profession at large.
Previous winners include Hilda Palmer, in 2020, Karl Simons, in 2019, Louise Taggart, in 2018 and John Green, in 2017.
Below are a selection of comments from those who voted for Mavis as their Most Influential Individual in Health & Safety for 2021.
“Without doubt Mavis is pioneering for change and awareness, she is literally influencing the behaviour of people to save lives.”
“The constant campaigning that Mavis has done for the last decade is amazing.”
“Because of her commitment to raising awareness of the hidden dangers of exposure to Asbestos. Driven by her own personal experience and personal loss, she strives to protect others, and their loved ones, from having to go through the long-term suffering asbestos related diseases result in. She gets involved at all levels to tell her story and to push for change.”
“Mavis has done an amazing job to raise awareness around the risks of asbestos and advocating for patients and raising the profile of research into this under-funded area.”
“I am in the USA and find her post with articles very informative. As a peritoneal Mesothelioma patient, she has taught me a lot about asbestos.”
“Mavis has no intention of slowing down. She is an amazing person and will stop at nothing to help other sufferers and their carers. Mavis attends parliamentary groups and helps to educate people at work around health and safety. She gives so much selflessly to the community. Her charity makes no profit, so all her expenses are paid from her own pocket. Mavis deserves to be recognised for her spirit her care and her kindness to people. The world needs people like Mavis who generally care about their fellow man and environmental issues that can endanger them.”
“My dad has recently passed away with Mesothelioma and Mavis’ foundation was extremely helpful in finding out more about this very aggressive, non-curable cancer. She also provided some welcome words of comfort after he passed away. If it hadn’t been for the Mavis Nye foundation, I wouldn’t have known what to expect or what to do.”
“During an awful time when my dad was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, Mavis was constantly on hand to help she is a truly inspirational person.”
“Mavis is a force to be reckoned with in the asbestos world and fight for justice with regards to asbestos health and safety. A true inspiration and warrior.”
“Asbestos remains a ‘hidden killer’ in our workplaces, especially schools. It must be kept in the public eye and Mavis does this.”
“Mavis is such an inspirational person, using her time and influence to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos for all who may encounter it, bringing Mesothelioma into the spotlight & working tirelessly to push for better funded research into asbestos related illness, despite living with the condition herself. Mavis has normalised the conversation about Mesothelioma & made it possible for many who live with it to discuss their stories, helping to support others with her foundation & to raise awareness/promote change. She also champions others who work in the area of research, who care for those with Mesothelioma /asbestos related illnesses and those who support people in their legal pursuit for justice against those who have exposed them to asbestos.”
“Although she herself has a life-threatening asbestos cancer, she has worked tirelessly to help others who are also battling with asbestos cancers and diseases. She is a compassionate and dedicated campaigner willing to give of her time to anyone who needs support. She is an inspiration to us all.”
“Mavis has been a hugely influential campaigner as a Mesothelioma sufferer herself, raising awareness and much-needed funds for asbestos cancer research, and she has become a real authority on the subject of Mesothelioma and asbestos related issues in general. Mavis is indefatigable and has continued to campaign whilst receiving treatment. She is greatly respected by everyone in the field and would be a very worthy recipient of this award.”
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