In Appreciation of Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee died from asbestos cancer on December 21, 2011 at 2 p.m. Korean time. Rachel was a woman with a formidable capacity for empathy and love. Everyone who met her was touched by her warmth, kindness and concern for human kind. The environmental exposure to asbestos which was to cause her death led her to campaign globally for an end to the deadly trade in asbestos. In November 2011, she went to Rajasthan to plead for the end of asbestos use in India No more asbestos, no more asbestos victims, was her motto. She told journalists in Jaipur that even though she was in pain, she felt she had to make the trip to Rajasthan to convey her personal message to the people of India.
In 2010, Rachel was one of a seven Asian campaigners who journeyed to Canada in the depths of winter to appeal to the Governments of Quebec and Canada to end the production of asbestos. Just a few months earlier she had visited the Indonesian city of Bandung in West Java to participate in a meeting at which the Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network was formed. Rachel was an active member of the organization Ban Asbestos Korea (BANKO).
The day before Rachel died she had been named as the recipient of a prestigious award in Korea for her bravery and determination in campaigning for a global ban on asbestos. The last time I saw Rachel she asked me to pray for her. I know that all our prayers will today be with her family, friends and colleagues in Korea and abroad. Rachel was a gentle soul with a golden spirit that lit up the lives of others. We will miss her.
Rachel Lee addressing colleagues at the 2011 meeting of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network.