Dedication to the late Carol Klintfält OAM and the late Serafina Salucci OAM
To mark 10 years of service to the community, in 2021, the asbestosawareness.com.au website has been dedicated to honour the work of two extraordinary women; the late Mrs Carol Klintfält OAM and the late Mrs Serafina Salucci OAM in recognition of their selfless acts of courage in advancing awareness of the dangers of asbestos to help save lives.
Even when faced with their own dire circumstances battling malignant mesothelioma with the knowledge that there is no cure; both Carol Klintfält and Serafina Salucci were selfless in their undeniable acts of courage, determination and commitment to advancing national awareness of the dangers of asbestos.
Although both battled the disease that would eventually take them from their loved ones, they remained focussed on a single minded goal – to help save the lives of others.
The commitment of these inspirational women in campaigning to increase awareness of the dangers of asbestos has had a poignant, far-reaching and positive impact in Australia’s fight against asbestos-related diseases. And although we will never know how many lives have been saved as a result of their mission, we know there will have been many.
Their resolve to this purpose remains a beacon of hope and an inspiration to all associated with asbestosawareness.com.au and the National Asbestos Awareness Month Campaign.
Carol Klintfält OAM (9 August 1949 – 7 November 2014)
In 2006, Mrs Carol Klintfält OAM was 57-years-old when she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Carol hadn’t heard of the disease and could barely pronounce its name. She was also unaware that the average survival time following diagnosis was just 10-12 months.
When Carol learned that it was a terminal cancer caused from inhaling asbestos fibres as a young woman in the 1970s, the diagnosis came as a devastating blow to the mother of three and her family.
It’s understandable that most would choose to spend every precious moment that remained with their loved ones when faced with such dire circumstances. However, having learned that she’d been exposed to asbestos fibres while working with an architect who refurbished hotels and again when she worked with fibro sheeting while doing home renovations; Carol became a staunch campaigner for Asbestos Awareness warning Australians of the dangers of asbestos to prevent others from putting their lives and the lives of loved ones at risk.
Carol established support groups for asbestos victims and often spoke of the devastating impact asbestos and mesothelioma had had on her and her family at Asbestos Awareness events. At every opportunity Carol persistently emphasised the significance of the public education campaign in alerting Australians to the dangers of asbestos particularly when renovating.
Carol was deeply respected and admired by all who knew her for her resolve and courage. It was her tremendous courage in sharing her story about how she developed mesothelioma that’s had such a poignant and far-reaching effect in saving the lives of many Australians.
From the moment of her opening speech at the launch of Australia’s inaugural Asbestos Awareness campaign in 2011, year-after-year Carol continued to share her personal story with Australians via the media to broadcast the life-saving Asbestos Awareness message to reach millions of Australians every year. Even when Carol felt tired or was undergoing treatment, she continued to muster her strength to campaign about the dangers of asbestos to the very last.
When speaking about the importance of the Asbestos Awareness campaign, Carol said, “The benefits that I gained from sharing my story with the media is a feeling of accomplishment. Anywhere, anytime, if I can, I will spread the word of the dangers of asbestos in our society. Having been diagnosed with Mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, I feel very angry and very disillusioned about what has happened to me and my family.
“Everyone should learn about the dangers [of asbestos]. Forget about ‘this won’t happen to me’ mentality. It can happen to anyone. I will stand on an orange box anytime and talk about the dangers and my story. It gives me a sense of self satisfaction that I am able to give something back and hopefully do something positive to prevent others from going through what I have gone through.”
On 7 November 2014, at the age of 65, Carol Klintfält, a dearly loved wife and mother of 3 adoring children, lost her 8-year battle with malignant mesothelioma.
On 8 June 2015, Carol Klintfält was honoured with an Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Roll for her dedication to increasing awareness of the dangers of asbestos to help save lives.
Serafina Salucci OAM (8 November 1969 – 6 October 2019)
In 2007, Mrs Serafina Salucci OAM was a seemingly healthy 37 year-old mother of four young children when she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused from inhaling asbestos fibres.
Exposed to the fibres as a small child while playing in her family’s backyard during the building of a garage constructed of asbestos cement sheeting (Fibro), Serafina knew better than most the dire consequences of Australian’s being unaware of the dangers of disturbing asbestos in and around homes.
Although she was told she had just two years to live, Serafina fought mesothelioma and became a respected campaigner who increased community awareness of the dangers of asbestos at every opportunity.
Serafina founded support groups, represented a number of asbestos-related disease organisations at events and successfully lobbied for the establishment of a federal body dedicated to providing a national focus on asbestos issues.
Serafina was a regular speaker at Asbestos Awareness events and would welcome the opportunity to tell her story to the media to alert as many Australians as possible of the risks associated with disturbing asbestos when renovating.
Serafina was a determined woman with a beautifully calm and courageous approach to life and her situation. Everyone who knew Serafina admired her courage in facing and fighting the horrendous asbestos-related disease.
Serafina’s determination and courage in battling the disease was matched only by her passion and resolve to protect others in the community from asbestos risks.
What makes Serafina’s efforts so remarkable is that although battling terminal illness and in the face of her own imminent mortality, almost from the time of diagnosis she became an inspirational campaigner for Asbestos Awareness. At every opportunity Serafina actively promoted the dangers of asbestos through the Asbestos Awareness campaign to help educate Australians about the dangers of asbestos to help save lives.
The significance of Serafina’s service to the community in preventing the suffering of others through her tireless commitment to the education of Australians about the dangers of asbestos has been an extraordinary, selfless act of courage that cannot be measured.
When speaking about her work in promoting asbestos risks through the Asbestos Awareness campaign, Serafina said, “This disease has happened to me for a reason – I’ve had to make a positive out of what is a devastating situation.
“They say prevention is better than cure, and I cannot think of any other situation that is more relevant than with mesothelioma. To this day, prevention is the closest thing we have to a cure, and this is why Asbestos Awareness and education is so crucial and important.
“It would be impossible to quantify how many lives the Asbestos Awareness Campaign has saved. It’s been a privilege to have been involved.”
On 26 January 2018, Serafina Salucci OAM was awarded an Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours Roll in recognition of her courage and commitment in her mission to save the lives of others.
On 6 October 2019, at the age of 49, Serafina Salucci OAM succumbed to the disease she’d fought hard for 12 years leaving her loving husband and four cherished children.
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