Friends of mesothelioma survivor Janelle Bedel – both IRL (web-speak for “in real life”) and those in the virtual online community – have flooded Facebook with support for the young woman who is battling this asbestos-related cancer. They are changing their profile pictures to the symbol used by comic-book hero Wonder Woman, the nickname earned by Bedel for her courage and strength in fighting the life-threatening illness, and hoping to raise awareness by sharing her story.
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It usually attacks the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). It can also affect the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma), although rarely. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma.
Those who are battling the disease have been dubbed by the support community as “Meso Warriors.” There are Meso Warriors around the world. While they are active in their own communities, they also share their message and mission to ban asbestos and find a cure for mesothelioma through activity in organizations such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund (in the U.K.).
Because of the global scope of mesothelioma, social media sites like Facebook also provide a perfect forum for people from throughout the world to connect, share their stories, provide support for each other, and get others involved in their mission to raise awareness.
The recent outpouring of support for Janelle on Facebook caught the attention of her local news in Rushville, Ind. At just 37 years old, Janelle has been battling mesothelioma already for several years, and is a dedicated and outspoken advocate for awareness and fundraising to find a cure, as well as for finally banning asbestos in the U.S.
Partially in response to the Facebook campaign, the City of Rushville presented Bedel with a proclamation declaring June 6 as “Janelle Bedel Wonder Woman Day.” A local Hardees restaurant has committed to give a portion of the proceeds from sales on that day to the ADAO, and there will be special Wonder Woman t-shirts for sale to raise money and awareness as well. The City of Rushville also has already committed to participating in the national recognition of Mesothelioma Awareness Day on Sept. 26.
If you would like to help Janelle in her efforts to raise awareness and funds, you can make a donation to the Meso Foundation, ADAO or the Mick Knighton Fund on the organizations’ websites. You can also find these organizations on Facebook.
Read more: RTV6