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Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) 2013 ADAO Conference “Meet the Speaker” and “Meet the Honoree” Series 

Posted on February 11, 2013

Register today for the March 22-24, 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.! 

Karen BantonTo introduce you to our extraordinary ADAO “The Asbestos Crisis: New Trends in Prevention and Treatment”  conference speakers and honorees, ADAO is featuring weekly Meet the Speaker and Meet the Honoree blogs! This week, meet Karen Banton, who will both present the keynote address at the Unity and Remembrance Brunch and be awarded with the Tribute of Inspiration Award at the 2013 conference.

Karen Banton is a strong advocate on behalf of asbestos disease sufferers and their families, fervently continuing the legacy left by her late husband Bernie Banton AM. Bernie was widely recognised as the public face of the legal and political campaign fought in Australia from the early 2000s until 2007, to achieve a binding agreement with James Hardie Industries for a long term compensation fund for the many sufferers of asbestos-related diseases (ARD) who were exposed to the company’s asbestos containing products.

During those all-consuming years Bernie spent as the public face for asbestos-disease sufferers of Australia, behind the scenes, Karen very much ‘walked the walk’ with him. Karen was every bit as passionate as Bernie for the cause, and even more so with his passing in November 2007. In Australia she has now become the public face for this mission and the ongoing fight for justice.

Karen cared for Bernie as he suffered pleural plaques, asbestos related pleural disease and asbestosis, and she ultimately nursed him as he bravely endured mesothelioma (diagnosed in August 2007).  Bernie lost his battle, dying at home on the 27th of November 2007.

Her comprehensive understanding of how these diseases adversely affect sufferers and their families is evident in the compassionate manner in which she deals with all who are touched by these insidious conditions.

In 2009 Karen, along with a number of supporters, founded the Bernie Banton Foundation, with its’ primary aims being to provide support and information to asbestos related disease sufferers and their families, and facilitate community awareness of asbestos and its’ dangers.

Karen married fellow anti-asbestos campaigner, and asbestos widower, Rod Smith in April 2012. Rod now stands beside Karen in the Bernie Banton Foundation, as a Director and in the roles of Operations Manager and Co-ordinator of the Bernie’s Angels ARD Support Group Network.