Doing it by the book

Renee and Barry Knowles. Picture: Bruce Hunt       d413879
Doing it by the book
Renee and Barry Knowles. Picture: Bruce Hunt       d413879

His skills and his honest, hardworking approach made Mr Knowles a respected and valued member of the WA building industry until his retirement in 2007.

In his new book Reflections through Reality, Mr Knowles shares his family�s darkest hours � the shock of his diagnosis, his subsequent battle with ill health, his fight for compensation, and his hope as he faces an unknown future.

�It was through breaking some ribs in a fall in early 2010 that a shadow was seen on my left lung,� Mr Knowles said.

�Upon further investigation, I was told it was mesothelioma and was given six to 12 months. I was devastated.

�My wife and I packed up our retirement home in Tasmania and moved back to Perth to be with our daughters and their families.

�The following months were horrendous to say the least. The progress of the illness was rapid; by September that year I was on morphine for the pain, facing my final days.�

But what happened next defied the odds.

�Through nothing short of a miracle, I am still here today and don�t want to waste the time I have been given,� he said.

Slater and Gordon general manager Siri Siriwardene approached Mr Knowles to write his life story at the inaugural Asbestos Disease Society of Australia walk from Kalgoorlie to Perth to raise funds for asbestos-related diseases medical research.

He was delighted with the idea and put pen to paper.

Reflections through Reality is the result. But the book is not the only work Mr Knowles does to help sufferers.

With his wife, he has set up a support network for people with mesothelioma.

ABN Group managing director and builder Dale Alcock said the book would be of great significance to those who share Mr Knowles� journey.

�My father passed away from mesothelioma in 2010, having survived less than four months after diagnosis. I remain acutely aware of the sentence and suffering this disease imposes on our community,� Mr Alcock said.

�While the dark cloud of asbestos disease will hang over our industry for years to come, I applaud and recommend this book as a body of work that will prove to be of immense value to those who will ultimately share this journey.�

Mr Knowles said the book was the start of bigger things, as he has gone on to establish a not-for-profit charity to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Reflections through Reality was launched by Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Perth last week. Proceeds of sales will go towards research into finding a cure for asbestos diseases, in particular mesothelioma.

Buy Reflections through Reality at www.reflections.org.au.