Canadian Asbestos Crusader Loses Her Battle with Mesothelioma
An indigenous Canadian woman who devoted much of her life to advocating for the rights of those afflicted with asbestos-related diseases succumbed to mesothelioma on Christmas night. Raven Thundersky was just fifty years old, and was the seventh member of her immediate family who had died of mesothelioma.
Thundersky was a member of the Poplar River First Nation, and she and her family grew up on the reserve in Manitoba. Their home was insulated with an asbestos-contaminated form of vermiculite called Zonolite which was used for decades in homes throughout Canada. The product was used from the 1950s on, and promoted by the Canadian government from 1977 to the mid-1980s, with homeowners who used it eligible for grants from the Canadian government’s Canadian Home Insulation Program. Military families and members of First Nation received the insulation for free. Over the years there were tens of thousands of homes and buildings throughout Winnipeg that were insulated with the product. The vermiculite was sourced from the infamous W. R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana.
In 2008, Thundersky wrote to Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister at the time, requesting that an inquiry into Zonolite’s dangers be conducted. A federally-funded program was established, providing $360,000 for removal of the deadly product from military homes in Manitoba, and a class action lawsuit resulted in a $6.5 million settlement offer from W. R. Grace, and Thundersky railed against the offer, saying that it would not be sufficient to pay for removal of the insulation from the affected homes.
Thundersky’s diagnosis of mesothelioma followed a tragic pattern in her family. Both of her parents and four of her sisters died of either mesothelioma or asbestosis, both diseases that are caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos. A half sister died of mesothelioma as well. In 2004 she was profiled in an expose about the asbestos-related diseases plaguing members of the community in which she grew up. That story revealed that, “Canadian officials had known about the contaminated insulation for more than forty years. According to a CBC documentary, “Deadly Dust” which broadcast on February 7, 2003, the first signs of Montana vermiculite in Canada appeared as early as the 1960s.”
Asbestos exposure is an international problem, and advocates like Raven Thundersky provide tremendous value to those who have been sickened as a result. If you are a victim of asbestos exposure and you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano can act as powerful advocates for you. Call us today to learn how we can help you file a mesothelioma lawsuit for compensation for the damages that you have suffered.