Posted on September 9, 2014

We have been touched by asbestos in individual ways, yet we are joined together by a bond of community. As a testament to the strength of our global family, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is highlighting the courageous stories of our members with the “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

This week, we would like to honor the story of Paolo, as shared by Assunta, his wife, who is part of our ADAO family.

We encourage you to submit your personal stories by clicking here and following the simple instructions on the page. In sharing, comes healing. Remember, you are not alone.

“So Many Dead Just for Others Greed” – Paolo’s StoryPaola, ITALY

Name: Paolo

Country: Italy

Date of Birth: 01-MARCH-1947

Date of Diagnosis: 05-APRIL-1994

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

Date of Death: 02-DEC-1996

How has asbestos changed your life?

Asbestos made its entrance in my life when my husband, Paolo Ferraris, who was a politician and local councillor started getting involved in finding funds for the decontamination: he was aware of the dangers linked to the presence of the Eternit plant in Casale.
Then on April the 4th 1994 asbestos entered my private life with a blow: Paolo had the disease, I was 43 and he was 47, our children were 16, 15 and 12. Paolo and I had been about to harvest the fruits of all the work we had put into our lives: our children were growing up and we were starting to rethink of ourselves as a couple as they no longer needed us all the time. We were planning a trip, thinking of getting a bigger house, of enjoying more adult intimacy, enjoying the strong love which permeated our daily lives.

Then he got a cough and it wouldn’t go. Short breath and on April the 5th the terrible verdict: Paolo was suffering from mesothelioma. I was advised to hide the truth from him and I did until it was no longer possible, and then he said to me: ‘You gave me two years of life. ‘How did you manage?’
I don’t know how I managed but I did. It was a nightmare.
Two years and eight months passed from the time he was diagnosed to the time he died. He did not suffer too much, at least he was spared that. But he did not see his children grow up with me and today he is not by my side to wait for our first grandchild (if it is a boy he will be called Paolo after him).
After a while I decided I still wanted to live, I bought myself some presents, I learnt how to ski, I went back to playing the piano and found love again because if asbestos had stolen his life I did not want it to steal mine too, but on the day he died there is a bit of me that went away with him. Since then I have been fighting with others, because we want people to know, because there were so many dead just for others’ greed for money and we want all the cancerous substances banned. That is how I feel I can repay a just man by getting justice.

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