Janelle Bedel was only 31 when she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The Rushville, Indiana, wife and mother was given only 10 months to live, but six years later, she is still engaged in the fight of her life. Her friends and family call her Wonder Woman, and her amazing battle has earned her support and encouragement from online friends around the world.
Experts don't know exactly why Bedel contracted mesothelioma, which is commonly the result of exposure to the carcinogenic material asbestos. However, throughout her ordeal, Bedel has remained strong. She is a prominent figure for the ADAO, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, and shared her story in a short piece titled, "I Will Never Be The Same." She has spoken at conferences and events to help raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and fight for more regulation.
Bedel adopted her Wonder Woman persona after picking up a thrift store shirt with the logo on it. It's now her "thing," and for good reason.
"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," she told ADAO. "[to] believe that with prayer and God anything is possible and that one person can make a difference."
Sadly, not even superheroes are invincible. Bedel recently shared some sobering news; she has entered hospice care, and, for all intents and purposes, is probably entering the last stage of her battle.
However, thousands have already proved they are ready to take up her mantle and fight for awareness and change in Bedel's honor. After her announcement on Facebook, users of the social networking site around the world changed their profile pictures to Bedel's signature Wonder Woman logo. In Rushville, her hometown, the mayor has proclaimed June 6 "Wonder Woman Day" to recognize Bedel and all she has accomplished.