Theodora Ahilas receives 2021 Australia Working day Honour for provider to folks affected by asbestos-connected conditions and to the law. | St George & Sutherland Shire Chief

Theodora Ahilas, of Blakehurst.

Medal (OAM) of the Buy of Australia in the common division for service to persons influenced by asbestos-linked ailments, and to the law.

Fighting for victims: Theodora Ahilas spent her career fighting for asbestos victims and their families. Picture: John Veage

Battling for victims: Theodora Ahilas expended her job combating for asbestos victims and their people. Photograph: John Veage

A former lawyer who devoted 30 yrs of her lifetime to preventing for the victims of asbestos health conditions and their households was amongst individuals who been given Australia Day Honours.

Theodora Ahilas, of Blakehurst, the principal law firm and director of the Sydney business of Maurice Blackburn Attorneys until eventually a calendar year back, received the Medal (OAM) of the Purchase of Australia in the standard division for company to people today influenced by asbestos-associated diseases, and to the legislation.

Ms Ahilas grew up in a performing course immigrant family and mentioned her mother and father “were being obsessed with training”.

“I was the initially a person in my family members to go to university and I constantly understood that I needed to apply legislation that would aid people today and equalise the energy imbalance concerning individuals who could fork out for a remarkable legal company and those who could not,” she stated.

“I begun representing victims of asbestos health conditions and their households in 1990. It was a career that spanned 30 several years and I loved it.”

In that time she acted for hundreds if not countless numbers of clients with asbestos sickness and mentioned numerous of their tales would stay with her permanently.

“1 of my earliest situations set the agenda for me,” she claimed.

“I was a reasonably junior lawyer performing for a 41-calendar year-previous customer with mesothelioma [who had] a disabled boy or girl.

“His prognosis was extremely inadequate and his matter had to be expedited with a quickly-tracked bedside listening to.”

She reported the 5 nominated defendants experienced groups of legal professionals performing on their facet.

“It really felt like a ‘David and Goliath’ contest,” she explained.

“The bedside hearing was to be held in a Brisbane hospital and the early morning of the hearing there was a substantial rally and protest march in Brisbane and there was no way I could get to the medical center.

“I advised the police who had been at the rally and they put me in the back again of a law enforcement motor vehicle and put the siren on and I arrived at the hospital.

“Suffice to say we gained the scenario.

“There are so numerous this kind of stories.”

Fighting spirit: Theodora Ahilas compared some of the cases she fought to 'David and Goliath'. Picture: John Veage

Combating spirit: Theodora Ahilas when compared some of the cases she fought to ‘David and Goliath’. Image: John Veage

Ms Ahilas, who was countrywide head of Asbestos and Occupational Diseases and a member of a amount of asbestos help organisations, was awarded the Legislation Culture of NSW’s President’s Medal in 2018.

She co-authored Knowing Mesothelioma, and organised various fundraising functions, like the inaugural Bernie Banton Meal, in honour of the asbestos illness campaigner who died in 2007.

Ms Ahilas, 56, was diagnosed with motor neurone sickness various a long time in the past and retired final yr due to sick health and fitness.

She said “the operate that I was privileged to do will remain with me”, and she was “really happy and honoured” to be bundled on the Australia Working day Honours Checklist.

“It is really genuinely humbling to be recognised for my lifelong enthusiasm for the work I have done and the clients and people that I have experienced the honour to have met in my occupation.”