2 April 2014
5am out of bed, 6am left home for Melbourne, Australia airport. 7am met my sister in law Linda (Lil) at the Qantas check in counter.
Customs and Immigration went smoothly. A big thanks to a friend who allowed us into the business class lounge where we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, read some magazines and relaxed until our flight at 10am. 14.5 hours flight from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles Airport (LAX).
2 hours to get through Customs at LAX. Then a 5 hour wait until our flight with Alaskan Airlines to Washington, DC.
Arrived 9pm - hotel shuttle bus to the conference hotel (Marriott) and in our room by 10pm.
3 April 2014
After a well earned and restful sleep we went to breakfast and caught up with Linda Reinstein (ADAO), Fernanda (Brazil), Ellen (ADAO), Marilyn (ADAO) and Sinem (Turkey). A look around the shops and posting some postcards, plus a drink at Starbucks where I got talking to a young guy visiting friends from New York. He thought that asbestos was banned in America and was surprised to learn that it was still very much everywhere in homes and buildings. He now is following this blog!
2pm Raya (a very talented artist, friend and meso warrior) picked us up from the hotel, and after a lovely drive along the beautiful river where we saw deer grazing, ended up at her home for a toast of champagne and a lovely afternoon tea. Thank you Raya - we both had such a nice afternoon with you and loved yr home.
Mexican dinner (Yvonne from Netherlands requested this restaurant), and a few others from the conference - a great fun night of lovely company, wine and food - thank you ADAO and to Linda Reinstein for making this happen.
4 April 2014
11.30am tour of Washington, DC and the monuments. A wonderful tour and I was amazed at the beautiful architecture and just how impressive all the monuments were. The cherry blossoms were out in full bloom.
That evening a lovely dinner for invited guests and honourees. I had blue crab cakes with real crab - they were to die for! In Australia crab cakes are made of manufactured ground up crab and additives added. A good night with beautiful company!
5 April 2014
The main day of the conference beginning with breakfast at 8am and seated by 8.30am for the start of the conference. I spoke at 9.20am 'I Will Not Die In Vain'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O_TeS05Tzs&list=PLs2LMXRPgSM7mGRSRi515S51rj07OQ_QW&index=12
Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General.
6.30pm Gala dinner and awards. I was honoured along with Heather Von St James and the late Janelle Bedel (Wonder Woman) to receive the Alan Reinstein award. Receiving my award I was very emotional as being there at the conference in America and accepting this award was a very special and beautiful moment in my life that I will always cherish with love and fond memories.
(The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is proud to announce that Janelle Bedel, Heather Von St James, and Lou Williams will be recognized with the 2014 Alan Reinstein award on April 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. ADAO is deeply grateful to each of these women for their dedication and commitment to education, advocacy, and support to patients and families around the world.)
Link below is my award speech on Utube.
Dr Richard Lemen.
Lou, Linda, Heather,
2014 ADAO Utube Conference Presentations for all speakers.
6 April 2014
Unity and Remembrance Brunch and candle lighting. A very beautiful, moving and powerful brunch where we reflect and come together in unity and remember those who have lost their lives to an asbestos related disease and for us warriors living with an ARD.
Linda Reinstein and Lou.
Jill Cagle "Blessings" Heather "The Power in Our Voices"
The afternoon we had some free time to explore the local area. That night we met up with friends from the conference and enjoyed a beautiful dinner and shared laughter, tears and good memories of a fabulous conference.
7 April 2014
A meeting with Mary Hesdorffer (Executive Director at Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation), then we were on our way to the airport. American Eagle flight to New York (JFK) arriving mid afternoon. Shuttle bus took 2 hours due to traffic buildup into Port Authority where my dear friends Kez and Mike were waiting for us. A quick bus ride on the Spanish bus to New Jersey/West New York and our stay with Kez/Mike for 4 nights. Dinner at a lovely Colombo restaurant near where we were staying.
8 April 2014
Bus trip through the Lincoln Tunnel to Soho/Greenwich for a long walk and lunch also visiting Washington Park and 5th Avenue. That evening Mike/Kez's American friends came over to meet the Aussies and shared dinner with us.
9 April 2014
Mike drove us down to the river area of New Jersey where we shopped at a couple of stores, had a light lunch and back home late afternoon after a wonderful and relaxing day spent with friends.
Dinner at a Spanish restaurant near Mike/Kez's place.
10 April 2014
Bus into downtown Manhattan/Times Square and the beautiful Bryants park with a carousel ride of course! Linda did a bus tour while I wandered on foot around NYC and bought some presents for the grandkids to take back home.
11 April 2014
Time to leave New York and fly to LAX arriving late evening at our accommodation in Manhattan Beach. A light soup for dinner and we were asleep by 9pm exhausted!
12 April 2014
Linda did a tour of Hollywood while I wandered around the local neighbourhood/shops before heading back to the hotel room and reading Julie Stafford's wonderful and inspiring book - The Seagull.
4.30pm we were picked up by Ellen and Brad. A tour of downtown LA and Hollywood before reaching our destination of the Magic Castle! What a place/what a night!!! Unbelievable magic/beautiful food and the best company. Again a night of living in the moment and enjoying every minute of it. Thank you Ellen and Brad - we loved every minute of it!
Linda (Lil) and Lou at Magic Castle, Hollywood.
13 April 2014
The shuttle bus picked us up at 8.50am for a visit to DISNEYLAND! Linda had never been there - she loved it! I loved going with her and we arrived back at the hotel at 11pm. A perfect day of sunshine, walking, riding a few rides, seeing the parades and also the fireworks.
14 April 2014
We had a late checkout of 2pm as our flight back to Melbourne, Australia was at 11.30pm!
Upon boarding at 10.30pm we had fingers/toes crossed for an upgrade and bingo - our wish came true! We were upgraded to business class! 16 hours of pure bliss! Our own space to lie back and watch premiere movies. I had about an hour's sleep - so the last few days I have spent catching up on sleep/jetlag.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our Thelma and Louise holiday/conference and would like to thank ADAO and Linda Reinstein, Office of Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Ellen and Brad, Kez and Mike and everyone else we came into contact with who made this trip to America possible and so magical! We loved every minute of it!