Fighting for asbestos victims is my family’s work. I am very proud to announce that my sister, Laurie Kazan-Allen, coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) since its inception in 2000, received the distinction of being named the 2012 winner of the Emeritus Professor Eric G Saint Memorial Award on Sunday, March 25 at the Annual General meeting of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) in Perth, WA.
The Emeritus Professor Eric G Saint Memorial Award has been awarded 21 times and includes medical professionals such as doctors and nurses, asbestos disease clinicians and researchers as well as representatives of the ADSA. Laurie-Kazan Allen is the only non-Australian recipient of this highly prestigious award.
Announcing the 2012 recipient, Rosemarie Vojakovic, an Executive Officier of the ADSA said:
“Over the year, our organisation (the ADSA) has greatly benefitted from information provided by our worthy recipient. Of particular importance and benefit to all Australians was information mainly relating to white asbestos and its carcinogenic properties which cause malignant mesothelioma.Our worthy recipient has represented our organisation with pride and dignity in all parts of the world and placed our organisation on the global scene.”
The award was presented to Laurie Kazan-Allen by the Honourable John Kobelke, MLA, member of the legislative assembly, the lower house of the Western Australian legislature.
The award’s namesake, Dr. Eric Saint, was born in Britain in 1918. He qualified as a medical doctor and served in the RAF in India World War II. In 1948 he went to Western Australia, where he remained until he died at age 70.
He spent his career occupied in issues related to public and occupational health including infant welfare, insects and pests and the asbestos mining industry. In the 1940s he sent a letter regarding the Wittenoom blue asbestos mine to the authorities predicting that “in a year or two, [the company of] Australian Blue Asbestos will produce the richest crop of asbestos disease in the world’s literature.” The letter came to light and was used successfully as Wittenoom miners began to litigate against the mine owners for the diseases they contracted working at Wittenoom.
Dr Eric Saint helped to found the medical school in Western Australia and is widely regarded as an iconic figure in WA history.