‘Amazing Person’: Sandra Pankhurst, subject of The Trauma Cleaner, dies in Melbourne | civilization
Melbourne woman Sandra Pankhurst, subject Award winning book Bumper cleaner for Sarah Krasnosteen.
Pankhurst suffered from a serious lung condition and is believed to be in her late 60s, but the exact cause of her death and her exact age are unknown.
A lawyer representing the family confirmed her death late Thursday night.
“She passed away after an extraordinary life with her family around her and her dog Moet,” said Matisse Mittelman. The relationship began as a lawyer and client but developed into a broader and more widespread friendship. She’s an amazing and incredibly empathetic person.”
Pankhurst became a celebrity after Krasnostein’s book about her life became a bestseller of 2018. He has won numerous awards including the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Douglas Stewart Award at the NSW Premier Literary Awards for Non-Fiction.
Pankhurst went on to become a motivational speaker while continuing to run her successful business STC Services, which specializes in cleaning up buildings after homicides and suicides and clearing homes of hoarders and illegal meth manufacturers.
In media interviews, she has been very outspoken about her abusive childhood, her previous work as a drag queen, sex worker and funeral director, and the transition from Peter to Sandra in the 1980s.
Krasnosteen praised Pankhurst on Thursday, saying it was “completely unique.”
“I will be forever grateful that she allowed me to tell the story of her amazing life and for everything she taught me along the way,” said the author.
Keren Vaughan, a podcaster and founder of the women’s empowerment initiative Girls With Hammers, said Pankhurst was a guest speaker at the organization’s annual conference just two months ago.
“Sandra was an exceptional person,” she said. “I have no idea where so much strength and self-love came from thinking about the enormous challenges she’s faced throughout her life.”
Vaughan said it was clear in early May that Pankhurst was having serious breathing difficulties.
“But she showed up and did not let anyone down. That was the thing for her—she never wanted to be disappointed.”
“We have built a wonderful friendship over the past two years and had many raw conversations. I pray that her new wings carry her safely to her next chapter and that she finally finds peace.”