I first wrote about Bernie Banton here. The heroic victim of asbestos-related mesothelioma died this morning aged 61.
I am so sad that it had to be this way for Bernie – a dignified, decent, good man; at the mercy of a corporation who admitted far too late it was exposing its workers to unsafe conditions, abandoning him to a painful fate most of us couldn’t even begin to imagine.
A journalist on the radio today described Bernie’s cancer and the treatment regime he had to follow as “ghastly.” In reality the awfulness of his condition was almost indescribable. Yet he continued to actively campaign for the rights of his fellow sufferers. A few days ago he said:
“What a wonderful opportunity I’ve had to fight for all the victims and their families.”
I am convinced that Bernie Banton was an angel living here on earth. It is rare to come across a human being who possessed such an unflinching sense of grace. He is to have a State Funeral which will take place next week. It is not everyday that a man like him comes along. He will always be remembered. His remarkable spirit in the face of such adversity is summed up best by Helen Keller:
” I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
Goodbye, Bernie. Rest peacefully…….
That Hellen Keller quote never fails to take my breath away, and leave me with goose bumps.
Oh Selma…. you made me FEEL these words, this post was so touching and so very well written.
Miss Britt – you are si right. That quote moves me like no other.
Meleah Rebeccah – thanks so much. I feel genuinely sad Bernie has passed away and that he suffered for so long. He was a great man!
I can hardly bear to think about what happened to Bernie and the colleagues he worked with. Your job should not kill you, it shouldn’t even cause you harm, but I got to know about way too many stories like this working in a place that dealt with these issues. It’s enough to make you quite your day job – so I did.
daoine – it’s horrendous, isn’t it? I’ve never met Bernie and I cried all day when I’d heard he’d died. No one should have that happen to them. Good on you for quitting your day job. Brilliant!
Good information about Mesothelioma.