A MUM of five who had to watch her husband ‘shrink away’ and die of mesothelioma is hoping to raise more awareness of the illness in younger adults.
Phil Moreton of Gosport died on October 2, after being diagnosed just five and a half weeks earlier.
The 36-year-old had come into contact with asbestos as a child, both from playing in building sites and falling through a garage roof.
Now, amid the tragedy of losing a husband and a father, his family are hoping to bring about change in the way mesothelioma is viewed.
Widow Kirsty Moreton, 32, said: ‘It’s been really tough, especially for the children as they had to watch him deteriorate.
'It’s incredibly young for someone to die of mesothelioma – you only ever really hear about it in older people.
‘The way it took him was horrible; he went down to about nine stone in weight and was sat in the living room asking why it had happened to him.’
Phil’s condition deteriorated to a point where he couldn’t even hold his newborn baby, Oscar.
Kirsty says the family is still coming to terms with what happened.
‘It’s hit everybody quite hard,’ she said.
‘It was devastating for the kids and they’re finding it particularly tough. They’ve lost their daddy and I’ve lost my best friend.
‘He loved cycling and looked so healthy before the illness took hold.
‘We thought this was going to be out year – he had just passed his driving test and we'd just had our baby boy.’
When she researched the illness, Kirsty learned that mesothelioma in younger adults is exceptionally rare, only finding one other reported case of a 32-year-old man in Leicester.
Now, alongside her mum, her four girls and baby Oscar, she will be working to raise awareness, saying that it can ‘happen to anyone’.
She will be fundraising for mesothelioma in Gosport High Street, while the girls have been making jewellery to sell at their school, Newtown Primary.
Kirsty said: ‘Even the doctors didn’t seem to know it was happening at first, perhaps because he was much younger than other cases they’ve seen.
‘It made me realise that there's not much awareness out there – the way it took him was horrible and there must be so many other people out there who don’t know they’ve got it.’