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Macedon resident Louise Williams has asbestos related cancer. She has lived with it for 10 years. LOU Williams credits the quiet and relaxing surrounds of Barringo for defying one of the most aggressive cancers of all. The 58-year-old (pictured) has had mesothelioma, commonly known as asbestos cancer, for 10 years. The cancer, linked to the now banned building product asbestos, attacks the lungs, turning them as hard as concrete and, in doing so, crushing other organs.

Ms Williams is in a one per cent segment of mesothelioma sufferers who have warded off the disease for so long. She is in her third major round of treatment, after a relapse earlier this year sent her back into a chemotherapy program. “I’ve had symptoms for 12 years, but I was first diagnosed 10 years ago when I was given two months to live,” Ms Williams said. “In August, my oncologist put me on another round of chemotherapy after the cancer came back to my heart and other lung.”

Ms Williams moved to the Macedon Ranges from Tasmania after her diagnosis, believing if she had only a short time left, she should live somewhere beautiful. She has been a passionate advocate for sufferers, campaigning for many years alongside Bernie Banton, who challenged James Hardie over their liability. “Our big awareness push is making home renovators aware of the presence of asbestos in their homes and urging them to be wary and remove and dispose of it properly,”

Ms Williams said. “There is a national register for people to record instances of exposure and renovators need to be aware asbestos fibres can be found in old putties and other building materials that date to the 1980s.” Asbestos campaigners are now pushing for subsidies for the removal and disposal of the substance to be offered by the federal government. Ms Williams plans to accept an award for her campaigning in Washington in March.


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