“Having worked as a builder and handled asbestos related products most of my life, I was not surprised when I was diagnosed with the terminal disease mesothelioma in February 2010 – I was devastated!”
Given a prognosis of 6-9 months, Barry Knowles defied medical odds and fought on, finally succumbing to the disease on 23rd of December 2016. You can share Barry’s journey with mesothelioma, interwoven with recollections of his earlier years, in his memoir – Reflections Through Reality. Challenged with writing his story in 2013, possibly the first of its kind in Australia, Barry never imagined it would become a catalyst to establishing a foundation by the same name.
The Reflections Through Reality Foundation has been established to allow individuals and organisations to donate to medical research that is being undertaken under the oversight of some of the world’s leading experts in mesothelioma research at the University of WA. These include 2013 WA Citizen of the Year Professor Bruce Robinson and Clinical Professor of Medicine Professor Bill Musk – who is also a Director on the Reflections Through Reality Foundation Board.
“My prayer is that a cure will be discovered for those who will suffer this horrible disease in the years ahead,” Barry said in an interview in October 2016 when he realised the disease had again taken hold of him.
The Reflections Through Reality Foundation was founded in 2015 as a not-for-profit organisation primarily to raise funds for medical research into a cure and/or treatment for asbestos-related disease, specifically mesothelioma. Our Foundation is also active in supporting fellow sufferers of asbestos-related diseases whilst increasing awareness of the ongoing risks of asbestos in our community.
- promote medical research into asbestos-related diseases (ARD)
- provide support and connections between fellow sufferers of ARD
- network with like-minded organisations
- increase awareness of the inherent dangers of asbestos in our community
- Bruce Watkins (Chair)
- Professor Bill Musk
- Justin Manolikos
- Katherin Domansky
- Jo Morris
- Renee Knowles
Patron to Our Foundation – Professor Lyn Beazley
Ambassadors to Our Foundation
Bruce Robinson is a clinician-scientist, and the Director of the NHMRC-funded National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD), an Australian national cooperative of Australia’s outstanding researchers in asbestos diseases, based in Perth. He was the WA Australian of the Year for 2014 and West Australian of the Year in 2013.
The work of NCARD is aimed at making an impact on asbestos cancers, particularly mesothelioma and lung cancer. The Tumour Immunology Group and the Biomarkers Discovery Group with NCARD have pioneered many areas including novel cell lines, transgenic mouse models, proteomics leading to human blood biomarkers, novel immunotherapy approaches, tumour gene sequencing. These findings have been translated into the clinic with ten world first clinical trials.
Bruce has received numerous prestigious scientific awards for his work including the Wagner Medal, the WA Premier’s Science Award, the Eric Saint Award and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ 75th Anniversary Award. In 2013 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
Prof A W (Bill) Musk has been a respiratory physician at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital since 1978, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia since 1992 and, Clinical Professor in the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia since 1998.
Until September 2013 Professor Musk worked as a full-time general respiratory physician with special interest in occupational lung diseases and for the last 5 years spent 3 sessions funded through an NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship Grant which allowed him time to take part in research projects. He has since continued in part-time (3/10) clinical medicine which allows increased time for his research activities.
In 1992 Dr Musk was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine in the areas of asbestos-related diseases and smoking control.
With training in clinical and occupational respiratory medicine, epidemiology and public health, his clinical and research interests have been in clinical and epidemiological aspects of lung disease (particularly occupational and environmental lung diseases) and cancer. He is an author on over 370 peer-reviewed articles and numerous reviews and book chapters in the scientific literature in these areas of research.
Friends of Our Foundation
The Reflections Through Reality Foundation is proudly supported by the following organisations and companies: