Boroughbridge area cancer sufferer delivers message

A professional Boroughbridge area magician with terminal cancer is continuing to “live life to the full” as he urges others to do the same.

Bob McBratney, a former ceiling tile fitter from Copgrove, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2019 and given 12 months to live.

The condition is a cancer of the lining of the lungs commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.

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Bob’s symptoms started just five days after he lost a good friend to the same disease.

He subsequently instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to help him access specialist therapies and care.

The legal team went on to secure a settlement from his former employer who Bob worked in the 1970s. This has allowed Bob, 66, to undergo private treatment, which he says is “helping to keep the mesothelioma at bay.”

He is now joining with his lawyers in supporting World Cancer Day by encouraging people in similar situations to “make the most out of life” as he marks almost two-and-a-half years since his mesothelioma diagnosis.

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During that time, he has raised funds for Mesothelioma UK, a charity which has helped him throughout his journey.

Nicola Handley, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Bob, said: “Bob is such an inspiration and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him over the past few years.

“Despite his diagnosis and the challenges he has since faced, he continues to radiate positivity and is keen to help others living with mesothelioma.”

Bob has been a magician for 20 years and enjoys life with his family and dog.

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He said: “When I was diagnosed, I felt bitter and angry, and the thought of leaving my family much earlier than I’d have hoped to was devastating.

“As there is no cure for mesothelioma, my prognosis was obviously not good, however the private treatment I’ve received has been incredible and is helping to keep the mesothelioma at bay.

“If I could say one thing to anyone in my situation, I would say live your life to the full.”

During the past two years, Bob has undertaken various fund-raising efforts in aid of Mesothelioma UK.

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His local support group has completed bicycle rides and hosted quizzes to help people in Yorkshire living with the condition.

Bob also performed a magic show at the Christmas gathering for the support group which brought joy to others.

Bob emphasises how important the support from his loved ones is. He explained: “My wife Joanne, son Henry and my brothers and sisters have all rallied around me.

“I also have a lot of close friends who have been fantastic, and of course my solicitor Nicola – she’s become a good friend to me and my family.

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“Having cancer is not necessarily the end of the world if you get involved with good, positive people.

“I’m still here, still doing sport, taking the dog out, all those sort of things. Life’s good.”

Bob is now taking part in Irwin Mitchell’s Human Tough campaign, in which he discusses how receiving genuine care turned his anger into optimism following his mesothelioma diagnosis.

World Cancer Day is an annual campaign on February 4. Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control, it aims to raise awareness of the signs of cancer, reduce deaths and increase access to life-saving treatment.

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