Posted on June 30, 2019
This month we lit a candle in loving memory on June 9th for Debbie and June 19th for Janelle.
In June 2013, our community lost two beloved Mesothelioma Warriors, Janelle Bedel and Debbie Brewer. They were both recognized with the Alan Reinstein Award for their commitment to education, advocacy, and support to countless patients and families around the world.
Debbie and I shared many years together as moms, friends, and activists. When we first met in 2008 at the Mesothelioma Patient and Career Day in Leeds, England, I felt as if we had always known each other. She had a special magic and brightened everyone’s day. Debbie was a cornerstone of social media for Meso Warriors around the world, and she was always there to listen. Her blog, Mesothelioma and Me, was filled with words of encouragement and generous sharing of others’ stories, not just her own. One of my fondest memories was meeting up with Debbie again in London, but this time, I met her son, Kieran. In between our many meetings, the three of us laughed and laughed. Each year, Kieran brings us together on Facebook to post a message of ‘cheers’ to his dear mum.
I loved Janelle’s outspoken commitment to “show people we’re not statistics, we’re real people!” Janelle’s town of Rushville, IN embraced her, followed her story and called her their Wonder Woman. Janelle and I met online through the mesothelioma community in 2007. I quickly became aware that she could purr like a kitten or ROAR like a lion when it came to raising awareness and funds to ban asbestos and find a cure. Janelle’s friends and families celebrated her on June 6th for “Wonder Woman Day.”
ADAO will continue to share their work and stories, forever.