• Ffloyd and Noelene Laurie, 2009. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
Ffloyd Laurie, a man from northern NSW, wants to take his wife on a honeymoon before his fatal asbestos-related cancer makes him any more ill. A heartfelt community is helping them out.
By
Sophie Verass

14 Sep 2016 - 4:49 PM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2016 - 4:55 PM

Last week ABC's 7.30 Report introduced Australia to Ffloyd Laurie, a Bandjalung and Yaegl man who contracted mesothelioma; a fatal asbestos cancer, as a result of living near an asbestos mine.

Ffloyd grew up in the Aboriginal town of Baryulgil, NSW just several kilometres up from Grafton. In the 1970s it was the home of the James Hardie white asbestos mine, a place where many local men were employed. Ffloyd was one of the children in Baryulgil who were significantly exposed to the mineral and as a boy, he and his friends would actively play in the mines like it was a recreational area.

There was no information given then about the harmful affects of asbestos exposure, even with James Hardie fully aware of its danger. 40 years later, Ffloyd is the first of this generation to develop mesothelioma, with others in the community diagnosed with other suspicious types of cancer.  

A devastating and controversial story for the Laurie family and watching the 7.30 Report, viewers couldn't help but be further moved by Ffloyd's final words on the video. 

"My plan is to live life to the fullest. That's my goal," he said on camera. "I'd really really like to ... I never took my wife on a [honeymoon]."

A Go Fund Me campaign has been created to send Ffloyd and his wife of over 35 years (whom he met when she was just 16), Noelene on the honeymoon they were never able to have. So far, $675 of the $20K goal has been donated by friends, family and the wider community. 

"It would be great for the family to see them go on this honeymoon," Ffloyd's sister Dianne told NITV. "It was mean a lot to us."

Dianne told NITV that her brother Ffloyd and his wife, Noelene never went on a honeymoon as their eldest daughter Katrina was born soon after they got married.

"Ffloyd wants to take [Noelene] before he starts getting really sick," she says. "He wasn't too good last week. He had his fourth round of chemo and that really knocked him and he has two more rounds to go."

Sadly, losing a family member is not foreign in the Laurie household and is a sad experience that both, Ffloyd and Noelene know too well. 10 years ago they lost their eldest daughter Karina, who was 23 at the time and their second oldest, Cara, died later when she was 31.

"She [Noelene] has been through a really rough time dealing with all that and now having to look after him with his illness. She really needs this break. She really needs a holiday."

Dianne told NITV that she was surprised when Ffloyd said that he wanted to take his wife across the state to their potential honeymoon.

"I started fishing around, saying 'Brother, where would you want to go, if you could go anywhere?' and he said, 'See sis, I've always really wanted to take her to the Great Barrier Reef.' 

"I just laughed, thinkin', 'of all the places in the world - in Australia, even - to choose from!'. But he said that's where he wants and it means a lot to him."

Dianne says that she hasn't met David Taylor, the person behind the campaign, but she heard that he is a friend of Ffloyd's lawyer, Tanya Segelov who also featured in the 7.30 Report program. 

Dianne is another one of the children growing up in Baryulgil who was exposed to asbestos from the local mine. Although her chances of getting mesothelioma are very high, she doesn't want to know her status. 

"I don't want to get checked, it's too frightening," she said. "Growing up with asbestos was like the sand, playing in it was like going to the beach. We never thought it was harmful. Now that he's [Ffloyd] got this mesothelioma, it's completely rocked us. We've got a time bomb ticking inside of us." 


The Go Fund Me campaign for Ffloyd and Noelene's honeymoon can be found here


For all the latest Indigenous news, features and video content at NITV like us on Facebook and Twitter

Related
Colleen's blog helping blackfellas talk about cancer
One woman's honest and revealing account of her cancer journey, paves the way for others to share their stories.
KICK ON for LITERACY: Anita Heiss and friends' fundraising mission
As many Aboriginal students fail to meet the National Minimum Standards in literacy and numeracy, an Indigenous foundation strives to make change. And this week, celebrating the Sir Douglas Nicholls Round, it's with the help of some deadly celebs.
Indigenous cancer stats worse than thought
Indigenous Australians are dying from lung cancer at eight times the rate of non-indigenous people, with concerns remoteness and disadvantage are hampering access to treatment.