Asbestos "Wonder Woman" Janelle Bedel Dies

In a small Indiana town, June 6th is known as “Wonder Woman Day” after Janelle Bedel, an asbestos-cancer fighter. Sadly, this wonder woman couldn’t win every fight- Wednesday her long battle with mesothelioma ended.

Days after her 31st birthday, Janelle was diagnosed with mesothelioma a cancer which has only one known cause - exposure to asbestos - and an expected life span of six months to two years after diagnosis. Devastated by the news and what it may mean for her young son, she committed to battling the disease. 

Janelle doesn’t fit the mold for mesothelioma. Janelle was a healthy young woman who, to her knowledge, had no exposure to asbestos. But like so many other asbestos victims, Janelle was determined to make a difference with the time she had left.

While Janelle fought mesothelioma for six years, she also actively spread awareness about the disease. She traveled to Washington, DC and successfully urged the Senate to recognize September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Despite her ill health, she also spoke at conferences around the nation promoting asbestos awareness.  

Because of her zeal in fighting this cancer, Janelle became a town hero. She worked tirelessly to draw attention to this disease and asbestos in general; so much so that her local representative gave remarks honoring her. This past Tuesday the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization- who recently won the Silver Stevie award for being an outstanding Non Profit - also recognized her with an award

With Janelle’s passing it is even more important that others pick up her work. Currently, there is legislation in the House that would let the asbestos industry off the hook for their deadly asbestos-containing products, by delaying and denying justice for victims.  Just yesterday, the New York Times editorial board came out in opposition to this legislation. Now it is time for you to act- tell your representative to support asbestos victims by opposing H.R. 982.