BERNIE Banton, the battler whose fight for justice forced corporate giant James Hardie to compensate thousands of asbestos victims, is now fighting for his life.
The foe this time is an asbestos-related cancer so virulent he once said he “wouldn’t wish it on a Hardies executive”.
“I feel like I have been kicked in the guts,” the celebrated campaigner said today from his Sydney hospital bed.
Mr Banton, 60, said he had been coping well enough with the “double whammy” – asbestosis and ARPD (asbestos related pleural disease), which required him to carry around an oxygen bottle with ever-present tubes up his nostrils.
But now he has the “triple whammy”.
He has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a secondary abdominal cancer which experts say is virtually incurable and leaves victims with an average 153 days to live, a specific detail Mr Banton himself pointed out in a TV interview last year.