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Our Story

Diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010 and given 6-9 months to live, Barry Knowles defied medical odds surviving 7 years. In that time he was challenged to write his memoir – Reflections Through Reality – which became a catalyst to establishing a Foundation by the same name.

Barry Knowles

Barry Knowles was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010 and given six months to live. With the support of his family, he defied medical odds and shared his darkest hours in his memoir, Reflections Through Reality. Barry’s despair gave way to hope as he found strength in the connections, community and genuine support of others with a shared journey.

Reflections was officially launched in 2015 by the then-Governor, Kerry Sanderson. Barry’s daughter, Jo Morris, is the driving force behind the work we do. When her son started a pre-apprenticeship in 2017, Jo prompted a curriculum review around asbestos training for those entering the building and construction industry. In 2021, Western Australia became the first state with mandatory training for Cert II, Pathways to Building and Construction. With the typical age of first asbestos exposure being 23 years of age, training and education is a core purpose of Reflections.

“Prior to Dad’s diagnosis, I knew very little about asbestos and had never heard of mesothelioma. Sadly, I believe this is not uncommon and without more community awareness, people will continue to suffer the loss and devastation that my family has experienced firsthand through something that is preventable.”

Reflections has well-respected professionals on our Board of Directors who volunteer their time and expertise. And we are proud to have the support of industry leaders such as Michael McLean, Master Builders Executive Director, John Gelavis and Managing Director ABN Group Dale Alcock, as well as the patronage of Professor Lyn Beazley.

Barry’s journey came to an end in December 2016, but his legacy lives on. He was known in the community as “Miracle Man” and is a true inspiration for his efforts as he selflessly gave to improve the lives of others.

Head here to purchase Barry’s book.

Barry’s Book:

Reflections Through Reality