A few days ago while I was walking along the beautiful and peaceful beach at a little cove/seaside town in Tasmania called Greens Beach, as there was no one else on the beach I decided spur of the moment to draw this heart in the sand with this powerful message as I felt it reaches out worldwide with a very important message.
I stood back and went to take a photograph when all of a sudden a couple appeared from 'no where' and asked if they could 'take a look at my artwork'! I showed them, they looked at each other and went a pale shade of grey and said ''a friend of ours was recently diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and he lives in Launceston'! (Launceston is a main city and about 1 hour away from Greens Beach). I said that I would leave my details in an envelope at the local shop/general store for them to give to their friend. A few days later I received a phone call from their friend - Rohan. What makes this story even more amazing is that this couple live and work in Colarado, US and were back home visiting so it really was a chance connection! They gave my details to another friend who dropped in to see Rohan and he gave my letter to him. This friend was due to fly to the Antarctic area the very next day to work there for a year!
Rohan and his beautiful wife Barb came to visit us at Greens Beach then last Monday we visited them at their lovely home for a chat and lunch. That morning a guy newly diagnosed had contacted Rohan thru another friend and in turn Rohan was able to pass this guy's details on to me and I made contact that night with him. What an amazing world we live in when this is able to happen! Both Rohan and this other guy now have support of others living with mesothelioma plus I have put them in touch with Bernie Banton Foundation and other contacts that they needed. Plus linking Rohan's wife Barb with facebook friends and various groups on a worldwide scale. They are not on their own having to face this terrible battle by themselves - there is support out there, unfortunately it is not readily available to all. We need to continue to find these other newly diagnosed people and their partners so they do not have to follow this path on their own.
Yesterday I did an interview with the Launceston Examiner newspaper with a wonderful journalist/writer Alex Druce who is very passionate about helping to spread the word on the deadly dangers of asbestos. I had done a previous inteview and story with him a few months ago and this one is a follow up to that story. I asked if Rohan could come along and tell his story, so Rohan was able to attend, be interviewed with Alex and tell his powerful story - he is a local guy who trained as a plumber and gasfitter - his known exposure was when he was as young as 16 and an apprentice plumber. The story will be in Sunday's newspaper. Thank you Alex and also to Rohan - in unity raising awareness!
We sailed home on the overnight ferry last night from Devonport Tasmania to Melbourne Australia. A good calm crossing and the ship was only half full making it a much more pleasant trip. We both watched the first movie at the cinema on board 'Hotel Marigold' set in India with Judy Dench - then Keith went an had a rest/sleep in his ocean recliner while I stayed until midnight and watched Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett.
Charlie our beautiful 7 yr old Siamese cat was waiting at home for us when we arrived. He has been very clingy all day and very vocal telling us all about his time without us! He now is on my lap stretched out with his right paw over my arm fast asleep! Keith is also fast alseep in bed.
On our last night we stayed with our dear friends Cathie and Colin in their beautiful newly renovated apartment (really half an enormous Edwardian home) that they are renting out on short term stays to anyone who wants to stay right in Launceston it is the perfect place and location. We went out to a lovely family run since 1979 Italian restaurant with our other dear friends as well. Vino and conversation flowed easily combined with the beautiful food. Our friend Roz wanted to do the toasting of raised glasses. I now know why! Roz's speech went something like this 'Lou here is an award from your dear friends and it is from all the people you have counselled and helped. Thanks for your friendship and love. Congratulations on your award for giving selflessly. Enjoy our award to you for ongoing courage and strength - wear with pride! I had tears in my eyes - I was not expecting this beautiful speech from Roz and especially my award - a beautiful dragon fly pendant! I will be wearing it at the ADAO 's Asbestos Conference in Washington when I attend soon. In fact I fly out on 2 April! 11 sleeps from tonight!
This picture below is a very graphic and real photograph of a young guy in America who is only 29 and fighting for his life with mesothelioma cancer. He should be having a carefree life - not fighting for his life!
We need to 'Ban Asbestos in Unity' as having a united global front is the only way that this will ever happen. Too many innocent lives are still being exposed daily to deadly asbestos fibres. Mesothelioma is a cruel cancer and we need to keep taking action and fighting for a global ban. By coming together through asbestos conferences we can achieve so much on a united front including research, awareness, advocacy and support.