Christmas trees a father's living legacy

TONY Grasso gave his life to his family.

Mario Grasso and Deb Brincat are keeping their father's legacy alive at their Kemps Creek Christmas tree farm. Picture: Simon Bennett

Mario Grasso and Deb Brincat are keeping their father's legacy alive at their Kemps Creek Christmas tree farm. Picture: Simon Bennett

Tony Grasso.

Tony Grasso.

After retirement, the dedicated husband, father and grandfather put his blood, sweat and tears into building a legacy that would live on.

Almost eight years ago, he and his wife Alfina started their Christmas Tree Farm in Kemps Creek.

After seven years of laborious work, Mr Grasso saw only one harvest before he died.

For 11 weeks he battled with a very aggressive case of mesothelioma or asbestos cancer.

He died in May this year. His daughter, Deb Brincat, said her family was still recovering from the shock.

"We are a very close family," she said.

"This condition would have been with him for many years, but he never showed any signs.

"My parents were soul mates and this farm was their baby. It was part of their daily ritual: they watered them, fed them, trimmed them.

"A lot of hard work went into it and it's so hard to keep it up, but it was his dying wish that we keep it going for the grandkids.

"He said the farm is theirs. It's their legacy."

Mr Grasso, who was only 67, was thought to have been exposed to asbestos early in his career during his time as an engineer on large ships.

Mrs Brincat said it was hard to see her dad suffer, even for a second.

"Mesothelioma is very painful; they say it's one of the worst cancers you can get," she said.

"As far as treatment, there is nothing you can do.

"He underwent two weeks of intense radiotherapy, but it burnt his oesophagus and the pain was excruciating.

"Then a few weeks later at the beginning of May, he took a bad turn.

"I'll never forget it. It was a Sunday night and he was in significant pain.

"We went to the hospital and he was just supposed to get his pain medication sorted, but they admitted him.

"He spent two weeks in hospital, and he died there."

Mrs Brincat said she didn't know why her father loved fresh Christmas trees, but he just did.

"I remember growing up we always had a real, fresh tree for every Christmas," she said.

"Sometimes Dad would get them so big that they didn't even fit in the house."

The Kemps Creek Christmas Tree Farm will harvest for the second time this year.

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