A thrift shop t-shirt, along with Janelle’s courage and perseverance throughout her illness, gave rise to her “Super Hero” status.
Janelle was a 31-year-old wife with a 4-year-old son when she was first diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma. “It was a matter of weeks and I went from being healthy to fighting for my life,” Janelle said in her Share Your Story submission “I Will Never Be the Same Again.” Her six years of battling this aggressive cancer has led her to work diligently for change.
“Even though this disease is awful, I feel it was my purpose in life…to be able to reach out and touch and change people’s lives; I believe that with prayer and with God anything is possible and that one person can make a difference,” Janelle says.
Our wonder woman serves as an inspiration to our mesothelioma community and continues to support fellow Meso Warriors around the world. In spite of her debilitating illness, Janelle organized a Miles for Meso fundraiser run/walk last year in her town of Rushville, Indiana.
She is an active supporter of ADAO and her hard work and dedication toward raising awareness will be recognized at ADAO’s 2014 International Asbestos Awareness Conference in April. Janelle, along with mesothelioma patients Heather Von St. James and Lou Williams, will be awarded the Alan Reinstein award for her commitment to education, advocacy, and support to countless patients and families.
Touched by Janelle’s courageous fight against mesothelioma, family, friends and strangers continue to change their Facebook profile pictures and share her story of survival against all odds, her battle to spread awareness and raise funding for research, and finally, her mission to get asbestos banned in the United States and worldwide.
I asked Janelle what her message is for Americans about asbestos:
“I would tell Americans asbestos is deadly and the US has not banned it. There are over 3,000 different products that contain asbestos still shipped to the US everyday. Protect yourself by educating yourself. Voice up to Congress and help ban it once and for all.
ADAO also applauds the city of Rushville and its residents for their efforts to raise asbestos awareness and support Janelle. On May 19th, hundreds gathered and donated goods, services and their time at a fundraiser to help defray medical costs incurred from Janelle’s fight against mesothelioma.
Community members continue to offer their support to the Bedels and raise asbestos awareness by selling Wonder Woman t-shirts. As a result of the community’s voice, Janelle’s story has also been broadcasted on Rushville’s local news station, RTV6, and the mayor of Rushville has dedicated June 6th as Janelle Bedel “Wonder Woman” Day.
We have witnessed the power of community work and I thank you all for coming together as an ADAO family to support patients and families around the world suffering from asbestos exposure and preventable asbestos-caused diseases.
Together, change is possible.