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A Real Life Super Hero: Janelle Bedel's Fight Against Mesothelioma Cancer Inspires 'Wonder' Among Meso Community
Homegrown social media campaign grows rapidly in support of Wonder Woman with mesothelioma
Today is Wonder Woman Day in Rushville, Indiana. The town’s mayor made the declaration Monday in honor of Rushville resident and mesothelioma patient Janelle Bedel. A portion of today’s sales from the Rushville Hardee’s will benefit Janelle who plans to donate the funds to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
The declaration is the culmination of an outpouring of community support for Janelle and her family after they announced her decision to enter hospice. Since then, thousands of people have changed their Facebook profile picture to the Wonder Woman logo in honor Janelle and her work to raise awareness of mesothelioma.
Janelle was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007 at the age of 31. Her son was 4. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Sadly, its typical survival rate is 6 to 14 months. Janelle underwent multiple procedures, surgeries and chemotherapy to extend her life. Her local paper followed her story and the town rallied to support her.
After her diagnosis, Janelle bought a Wonder Woman shirt at her local Goodwill. She and her family adopted it as their own symbol of resilience and strength beyond that of just the average woman. Janelle took her fight against mesothelioma to the streets and became a hero to the mesothelioma community in the process.
She organized several events to raise awareness of mesothelioma including two Miles for Meso events that raised thousands of dollars for research. In addition, she also helped lobby on Capitol Hill for a national Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Along with her effort and many others, the U.S. Congress has since officially recognized Sept. 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
In the six years since her diagnosis, she has not only beaten the odds, but has inspired thousands to continue advocating for a mesothelioma cure and an asbestos ban.
To honor Janelle’s heroic fight against mesothelioma, the Simmons Firm has changed its Facebook profile picture to the Wonder Woman logo. She is a huge inspiration to us, and we encourage everyone to join us in honor of Janelle and her mission to continue to raise awareness of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure.Comments (0)
The mesothelioma lawyers at the Simmons Firm have brought together recent headlines highlighting the dangers of asbestos exposure and new information concerning mesothelioma research from throughout the nation and world.
- Asbestos removed as athletes swim on Asbestos is being removed from the outside of the Australian Institute of Sport Aquatic Centre as the country’s elite swimmers continue to practice inside the building. Daily tests are being conducted to make sure there are no asbestos fibers in the air around the worksite.
- Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization named as finalist for 2013 American Business Awards The organization that serves as the voice of asbestos victims was named as a finalist in the Company of the Year – Non-Profit category. The winners will be recognized at the awards ceremony on June 17 in Chicago.
- On-site asbestos detector offers promise of better workplace safety Currently, the most common way to detect toxic asbestos fibers is to filter the air. This new, portable, real-time technology detects asbestos fibers using laser-based light and a scattering technique.
- Asbestos removal, demolition contracts for Coultrap OK’d Asbestos-containing material was found in the former Coultrap School in the Geneva school district. The project will cost $140,000 to remove the asbestos, and $545,900 to tear the building down.
Asbestos Legistation Update: Corporations Lobby for Legislative Protections While Thousands of U.S. Military Veterans Continue to Die from Asbestos Cancer
“If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products, why not die from it.”
Nearly 50 years ago, the Director of Purchasing for the Bendix Corporation, a part of Honeywell, wrote those words. Today, asbestos companies and their public relations gurus are still waging war on cancer victims, including our military veterans.
Experts estimate 30 percent of all mesothelioma victims in the United States are military veterans. That’s a staggering number when you consider that between 1999 and 2007 the Center for Disease Control reported over 23,000 Americans died of the asbestos-related cancer. That's approximately 7,000 service men and women. To put that statistic in context, approximately 5,000 military personnel have died in the U.S. War on Terror since 2011.
Meanwhile, the companies responsible for exposing veterans to the deadly carcinogen are lobbying for new bills at both the state and federal levels that would grant them sweeping advantages in the legal system, delaying and – in some cases – denying desperately needed compensation for medical treatments.
At the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the so-called Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act out of committee despite bipartisan opposition. The move is a slap in the face to all victims of asbestos-related diseases, in particular our veterans as we head into Memorial Day weekend.
Andrew Cochran wrote a warning in the Legal Examiner explaining why this bill and others like it on the state level are harmful to veterans, especially Navy veterans.
If passed, the so-called FACT act would limit the 7th Amendment rights of asbestos victims by delaying compensation or raising legal barriers to full payment from asbestos trusts until after victims die, which leaves families and taxpayers to foot huge medical bills.
The act harms asbestos victims in three specific ways.
- It requires trusts to publicly disclose
extensive, individual and personal claim information.
- It would allow asbestos defendant
lawyers to demand any additional information from the trusts at any time for
virtually any reason.
- It applies retroactively to the initial creation of the trust. This means every victim who has ever submitted or received a claim from an asbestos trust will be impacted.
Similar efforts to delay justice for asbestos victims are happening on the state level, too. Wisconsin veterans have expressed disappointment in the Wisconsin legislature for passing a similar bill that serves only to shield corporations from being held accountable for their asbestos liability.
For more than eighty years, corporations that produced and distributed asbestos-containing products – and their insurance companies – have attempted to avoid responsibility for the deaths and injuries of millions of American workers and consumers caused by those products. Since before 1930, they have hidden the dangers of asbestos and lied about their knowledge of those dangers, lobbied to make it harder for workers to sue for their injuries, fought to weaken protective legislation, and to this day continue to deny responsibility.
This “transparency” legislation is not what it pretends to be – an effort to make the tort system more responsive – but merely their latest affirmative effort to evade responsibility for their own malfeasance.
How many more veterans and others will have to suffer through a mesothelioma diagnosis before real change that makes a real difference in the lives of these people and their families is realized?
Victims are expressing outrage at these one-sided efforts, and you can help. Sign the petition against the FACT act here. Write to your congressional leaders and tell them to support asbestos victims not the asbestos companies. Write to the national veterans groups and ask them to publicly weigh in and warn Congress about the FACT Act.Comments (0)
Asbestos has been used for thousands of years. Although it is sometimes assumed that the health hazards of asbestos have only been known for the past century, this is not the case. The dangers of asbestos exposure came to light as far back as the year 100 AD, when Roman Naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote about the gruesome consequences he witnessed among slaves at asbestos jobsites. In his work Natural History, Pliny the Elder noted the quick, painful deaths brought on by respiratory diseases among the slaves who had worked with asbestos.
The American legal system has evolved over the years, and within it, asbestos litigation has evolved as well. The health risks associated with asbestos were known as early as the 1930s, but companies purposefully hid that knowledge from their employees.
In a previous blog post, we examined important dates in American history concerning asbestos litigation. Here, we will go through some of the most infamous asbestos litigation history facts that you may not be aware of. Did you know:
- Asbestos mines were used in ancient Greece, Finland, Sweden, and Cyprus as far back as 5000 BC.
- Archeological digs uncovered asbestos use in Egypt and Scandinavia dating back to 3000 BC.
- Asbestos was once used in burial shrouds for Egyptians in 2000 BC.
- The name “asbestos” dates back to 50 AD, when Roman Scholar Pliny the Elder wrote about the mineral and noticed grueling illnesses among slaves who had woven the mineral into cloths.
- Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne supposedly had a tablecloth made of asbestos that he purified by throwing into fire. He died in 814 from pleurisy (inflammation of a membrane that surrounds the lungs).
- The first U.S. patent for asbestos was issued in 1828.
- Use of asbestos really took off in the 1860s, when it was used as a raw material in manufacturing and construction industries.
- A report was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1918 that detailed early deaths among asbestos workers.
- The first known death from asbestos occurred in 1924, when British woman Nellie Kershaw dies from asbestosis.
- Johns-Manville, a major asbestos company, produced an internal report that detailed medical records of asbestos worker fatalities in 1930.
- Asbestos was once used in safety clothing. Because it is fireproof, asbestos was woven into clothing to shield people working with or in flammable areas.
- The first ill asbestos worker who filed an asbestos product liability in the United States actually lost the case. It happened in Beaumont, Texas in 1966.
- Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military veterans have been exposed to toxic asbestos-containing materials.
- By 1982, 1,000 asbestos claims had been filed with $1 billion spent by the defendants and insurers.
- Twenty years later, in 2002, 730,000 asbestos claims had been filed with $70 billion spent by defendants and insurers.
- While it is banned in Canada and the UK, asbestos is not banned in the United States.
Important Dates in Asbestos Litigation History1898 – The annual reports of the Chief Inspector of Factories in Britain mentions “easily demonstrated” health risks from asbestos.
April 1 through 7 was officially designated as “Asbestos Awareness Week” by Senate Resolution 66 by the U.S. Senate. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization has officially assigned the theme of the 2013 awareness week as “Asbestos: One Word. One World. One Week.”
One of the main goals of Asbestos Awareness Week is to educate as many people as possible on the dangers of asbestos exposure, where exposure can occur, and how to prevent it in an overall effort to eliminate serious asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. By providing valuable information on asbestos, such as facts and statistics, more individuals can be knowledgeable about its dangers.
The Simmons Firm joins the effort to eliminate asbestos exposure and, inevitably, mesothelioma. Below are some of the most important facts and statistics you should be aware of regarding asbestos and the potentially dangerous consequences of its exposure.
- Approximately 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at their workplaces. (World Health Organization)
- 55 countries have banned asbestos, but the United States and Canada have not. (ADAO)
- Asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, pleural plaque, asbestosis, and lung cancer. (Simmons Firm)
- More than 107,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases caused by occupational exposure every year, worldwide. (World Health Organization)
- Asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than human hair and are tasteless, odorless, indestructible fibers that can float in the air undetected. (ADAO)
- Asbestos exposure can occur 25 to 50 years prior to the appearance of mesothelioma symptoms. (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)
The above is a brief list of important statistics and facts surrounding asbestos; however this is not a comprehensive list. For more information regarding the topics covered during Asbestos Awareness Week, please refer to the ADAO agenda here.Comments (0)
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