Asbestos victim Serafina Salucci has been living with mesothelioma for nine years. Photo: Elesa Kurtz
Serafina Salucci was just seven when she helped her dad build a garage in their Sydney backyard using the common building material of bonded asbestos sheeting.
But in 2007, at the age of 37, a persistent cough sent her to the doctors where a scan of her lung confirmed the deadly cancer mesothelioma.
Given her lack of exposure to any other form of asbestos, the most likely explanation is a tiny fibre entered her young lung during the backyard renovation, where it lay dormant for 30 years.
But Ms Salucci considers herself one of the lucky ones.
The average time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and death is just two years. She has survived nine. And she has watched her four children – the youngest was three when she was diagnosed – reach milestones she never thought possible.
With one lung removed, too many surgeries to list, and bouts of chemotherapy and radiation therapy behind her, Ms Salucci lives as full a life as she can between her six-monthly scans.
She went to Federal Parliament to plead for funding for the national effort against Australia’s asbestos legacy.
Ms Salucci was joined by asbestos advocates, legal and union representatives from across Australia – all of whom have banded together to call on the Turnbull Government to approve $3 million in funding for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.
Read on via Asbestos victim helps lobby for funding