The Silicosis Support Network (SSN) partners with people with direct “lived” experience of silicosis … this assists us:
• to improve how we offer and deliver services and support that matters to you.
• is delivered by clients for clients.
We offer a Silicosis Mentor Program especially designed to engage with people directly affected by silicosis. It can be isolating and frightening when you’re trying to navigate a silicosis diagnosis.
We appreciate that no one understands your situation as well as another silicosis sufferer therefore we offer unique access to our trained volunteer mentors. They can walk alongside you, share their insights and experiences with the aim of helping you to help yourself.
“Being a stonemason is my trade, it’s all
I know how to do, it’s what I have loved
doing” – Adam Emery
Adam is 35 years old. He spent 19 years doing a job that he loved. Adam’s life will never be the same again.
Early last month, (February 2020) after routine screening Adam was diagnosed with advanced silicosis, progressive massive fibrosis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease…
“I was just doing my job but the dust it was hard to take, it was everywhere, when I expressed concern, the response was always the same… either put up or shut up, I put up because I have a family to care for”.
He is a devoted father to 6 wonderful children and a loving and supportive partner to Jenni.
“I am more than this illness, you know, I don’t want sympathy, I want things to change for the other guys, I want to be part of that change, I want this to matter”.
Adam was a very active motor bike enthusiast; he played skirmish and loved nothing more than running around with his kids. He describes encounters with sharks and crocodiles when spear fishing off North Queensland. He spent his days
hunting and refurbishing an old bus into an incredible home for his while exploring the country. He loved to teach all these skills to his children.
Life is different now; he reflects on the last few years and despite the warmth of his humour it’s hard not to sense the sadness and the loss.
“I can hardly do a 5-minute ride on the scooter with the kids anymore, it hurts too much”.
The daily tasks that we take for granted are often insurmountable for Adam now. Despite the daily challenges of living with this deadly disease Adam holds onto hope and strives to work toward a safe working environment for his mates, stone
masons and all other workers exposed to deadly occupational dust.
Adams goal is to help other people affected by silicosis. He is passionate about ensuring that people impacted by silicosis can access essential services and supports like the ones now available at the Silicosis Support Network. As a silicosis
support mentor Adam wants his ‘lived experience’ of silicosis to matter by helping to make a difference in other people’s lives. His openness and willingness to listen deeply and with empathy is a wonderful asset to all those he is already
assisting at the SSN support groups.
Thank you, Adam, for your generosity – you are a valued member of the Silicosis Mentor team and we look forward to doing valuable work together.
In recognition and appreciation of your time, passion and commitment to helping us at the Silicosis Support Network to support you and the silicosis community your way.
“Being a stonemason, that was my life”,
being with the boys, working hard but
having a laugh too, that was my world,
my identity” – Daniel Lewis
Daniel is 32 years old. He spent 15 years doing a job that he loved. His world has been turned on its head.
In November 2018, Daniel was diagnosed with accelerated silicosis, he will never work as a stonemason again.
He is a loving father to two wonderful young daughters….
“I try and stay active but it’s a struggle. I can barely kick the ball with the kids for 10 mins without stopping to catch my breath, the kids don’t get it. I hate that they see me like that, but that’s the legacy of silicosis”.
Just recently Daniel completed his compensation case with WorkCover, Qld with the assistance of Turner Freeman lawyers. He was assessed as having a ‘terminal condition’ due to Silicosis, (under ‘the Act’ 2003, workers who have a latent onset condition that is a ‘terminal condition’ may be eligible to receive a special lump sum benefit. Following recent changes, a ‘terminal condition’ is defined as a condition that is expected to terminate the worker’s life). According to Daniel this means that he can finally move forward with his life which will include consistent health monitoring and management. Daniel has decided to enrol in a dual diploma of business/management & leadership and is excited about taking his career in a new direction. Despite a slightly different work environment Daniel knows, that by focusing on the people and relationships then everything else will follow.
“No matter what I am or what kind of work I do, it will always be about the people, for me”.
Daniel’s goal for Silicosis sufferers remains the same!
“The best advice I can give the ‘boys’ is don’t give up, I know it’s hard but it’s worth the fight”……
Daniel’s passion is to help others affected by silicosis. He wants people affected in anyway by silicosis to have access to the support and services they deserve. As a mentor with the Silicosis Support Network, Daniel shares his ‘lived experience’ to help us to offer exceptional supports and services. Daniel is looking forward to connecting with you at the upcoming support groups, sharing his experiences and listening to and understanding yours.
“The Silicosis Support Network was the only place where I could get that extra help and information that I really needed” … they really helped me to help myself”.
Thank you, Daniel, you are a valued and respected member of the mentor team at the Silicosis Support Network and we look forward to doing more important work together.
In recognition and appreciation of your time, passion and commitment in helping us at the Silicosis Support Network to support you and the Silicosis community, your way!
If you would like to enquire about joining the Silicosis Support Network Mentor Program please contact our social worker for more information.