Peter Wachowski


Justice for Mesothelioma Sufferers Challenge

Provide much deserved relief and financial support for mesothelioma sufferers resulting from asbestos exposure in the US workplace.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed

Asbestos in the US
Page Text in Polish [Polskie]
A Need for Data


We need your help to take care of those who are forgotten.

What could more precious than a human life? Unfortunately, there is an ugly history of businesses putting profit and cost-savings ahead of their own workers’ well-being. We won’t stand for that, and hope you won’t either.

Throughout the 20th century, hundreds of US firms exposed their employees to deadly asbestos in a variety of industries. Many are suffering today, unaware of the financial resources available to them for relief and support. That’s where you come in.

While some corporations have taken responsibility for their actions, others have simply disappeared or covered up their role in what is sometimes considered the largest man-made epidemic in US history.

Your challenge?

Devise a plan to locate and reach out to these victims, as the first step in providing them with the financial support that they deserve.

Beyond helping these lost victims win legal compensation for their work-related ailments, you will be bringing support, community, and awareness to sufferers globally.

This challenge will also shed light on the broader dangers of asbestos and the asbestos industry, an industry that STILL does big business in a number of developing countries including, India, Indonesia, China, Russia and Brazil.


A global tragedy…

Jakob migrated to New York from Poland when he was 28 years old to pursue a better future. He soon found a job working at a cardboard factory and stayed with the company for 35 years, often working extra hours. Forty years later, Jakob returned to Poland and was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of constant exposure to toxic asbestos on the job. Jakob and his family are struggling to cope with the emotional and financial hardships of his diagnosis.

Roughly 1,200 Navy Veterans, shipyard workers, or maritime workers will be diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. In an all too common military scenario, Bruce, a Navy sailor, would wake up in the morning covered in what seemed to be powdered snow; only it was not powdered snow, it was asbestos.

As many young girls do, Heather often ran to the door to greet her father with a big hug when he returned home from his job sanding drywall. In 2005 and as a new mother, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma and had to have a lung removed, rendering her unable to care for her daughter. The court that heard her lawsuit estimated that the disability caused by her mesothelioma cost her more than $5 million in lost lifetime earnings. Today, Heather is a ten-year survivor of mesothelioma and advocating for patients around the world.


What you can do to support mesothelioma sufferers

  • Click "ACCEPT CHALLENGE" above to register for the challenge and begin your submission. You will be notified of any status updates and be able to create an entry to the challenge when it opens.
  • Click on the "Share" button or social media icons above to share this challenge with your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Leave a comment in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators. 


How can I help?

This challenge asks you to strategically identify a particular subgroup of people who may currently be suffering from mesothelioma in isolation. Perhaps they’re living abroad and uninformed of their rights. Many are likely to be vulnerable members of the population. Can you help us identify these individuals and communities around the world and find a way to reach them?

This is an Ideation Challenge, which means we are seeking ideas and concepts that demonstrate how we might  identify mesothelioma sufferers. It doesn’t need to be currently implemented.

We are asking for a detailed “blueprint” of your idea. You must explain it in detail and include an implementation plan.. Your submission should provide enough detail so that we can understand how it would be implemented. There is a character limit to your answers, however so you are encouraged to be as succinct and clear as possible.

If you present the right idea, the sponsor may even hire you to implement it!


Motivation for a challenge

Peter Wachowski is a Chicago-based attorney who recently represented a mesothelioma patient and, after being moved by her story, is now looking to reach out to others who are in need of financial relief and deserve the opportunity to be rightfully compensated. 

Peter is passionate about finding individuals who may be in remote areas with little knowledge or access to information about their rights. Many current sufferers could be  diagnosed and retired, surviving on a modest social security with no knowledge of their right to compensation. 

In some cases, family members are suffering in isolation due to secondhand exposure resulting from the negligence of US corporations.


Your mission is to figure out where these individuals are and how you can reach out to them, so they have the opportunity for justice.


As someone of Polish descent who serves many Polish individuals in the Chicago community, Peter is particularly interested in reaching Polish individuals who worked in the US and are suffering from mesothelioma (living in the US or abroad – e.g., retired in Poland).

You will receive additional points if your solution has the potential to reach Polish individuals, and you may wish to incorporate the use of Peter’s local networks (with many Polish members) in your concept. If so, your concept description must include details on how you plan to utilize any of the following:

Note: It is not necessary to target individuals of Polish descent to be awarded a prize.


Some ideas to get you started

Can you...

  • Create a community of mesothelioma sufferers who worked in the US and now live in remote areas?
  • Increase knowledge or help sufferers access  information about their rights?
  • Pave the way for Peter to reach the members of this community who are eligible for compensation?

You might ask…

  • How have other organizations been successful in reaching sufferers of diseases with low incidence?
  • How can Peter use those tactics to support mesothelioma sufferers in the legal system?Can you use big data to identify where mesothelioma sufferers live (virtually or physically) and find a way for Peter to reach them?


Offending industries

Your concept must show the potential to identify and reach uncompensated individuals who worked in an offending industry.

Below are the most common industries, but there are dozens of relevant workplace environments that could qualify. Click here for a full list of occupations and industries.

Occupations with the highest risk of exposure: asbestos miners, asbestos plant workers, boiler workers, construction workers, firefighters, industrial workers, insulators, factory workers, power plant workers, and textile mill workers

Job sites with the highest risk of exposure: construction, ship and boat building, agricultural, industrial chemicals, railroads, hospitals, nonmetallic mineral and stone product manufacturers, blast furnaces, electrical light and power companies, elementary and secondary schools.

How do I win?

To be eligible for an award, your concept must include, at minimum:




Find mesothelioma sufferers

Concept must show the potential to identify individuals eligible for compensation:

  • At minimum, individuals identified should demonstrate an affiliation with mesothelioma
  • At minimum, individuals identified should be affiliated with one of the offending US industries

Examples include identifying individuals from a mesothelioma advocacy group or obtaining an individual’s personal consent of US employment via written statement


Reach mesothelioma sufferers

Concept must include the ability for Peter Wachowski to reach mesothelioma sufferers
Examples include email, phone, or online account



Concept must adhere to US privacy laws (e.g. HIPAA) regarding 1) the protection of health information and 2) the ability to directly communicate with individuals.
An example might be: adding terms on a website that users must agree to or having Peter implement the solution himself to address privacy concerns regarding third party contact.



To win, submissions must include as many of the criteria listed below as possible.

Please note: even if your concept does not fully address all of the below criteria in your submission, you can still receive partial points and win the competition if you are strong in other areas.




Total Points

Right Target

Judged on a scale, up to 30 points: likelihood that your concept will be able to target eligible individuals who:

1) have mesothelioma

2) were exposed to asbestos directly or indirectly (e.g., through a family member) resulting from an offending US industry, and

3) have not received prior compensation

Examples include: an individual providing relevant information on a website form or a professional publication mentioning diagnosis or workplace in an article


Social Impact

How does your concept create overall impact?
For example, does your concept inspire people to get involved? Educate sufferers who live in remote areas or outside the United States (e.g., retired in Poland)? Build a new supportive community for patients?


Ease of Implementation

Judged on a scale, up to 15 points if concept is expected to be easy to implement with few barriers
The easier to execute your idea, the more likely for success


Innovative Approach

Judged on a scale, up to 15 points if the concept has a creative, innovative approach.
All concepts will be judged on their ability to leverage new or existing methods in creative ways


Total Reach

Judged on a scale, up to 10 points: potential for your concept to identify a large number of individuals (10+) with mesothelioma who are eligible for compensation


Polish Focus

Judged on a scale, up to 10 points: potential for concept to identify and reach individuals of Polish descent (living in the US or abroad)





Submission Form

Character limits are maximums only. Be concise. Quality trumps quantity.

 Elevator Pitch:

1.1 In 3-4 sentences, provide a brief overview of your concept that is clear and easy to understand for a variety of audiences [character limit: 500]

How It Works:

Support your answers to the following questions with references, examples, and the results of any preliminary testing you have done.

2.1 Explain your concept
Provide as much detail as possible about the design, components, and key elements involved in your concept. You are welcome and encouraged to incorporate supporting images which may include infographics, sketches, or photos to support your concept [4-page PDF upload]

2.2 How does your concept identify individuals who have mesothelioma? [character limit: 1000]

2.3 How does your concept focus on individuals who were exposed to asbestos in the US workplace in one of the offending industries (see section above)? [character limit: 1000]

2.4 How can you ensure the individual has not been previously compensated? [character limit: 1000]

2.5 How does your concept allow for these individuals to be contacted by Peter? [character limit: 1000]

2.6 Does your concept have the potential to reach Polish individuals? If so, how? [character limit: 1000]

2.7 How many individuals who have mesothelioma, are uncompensated, and worked in an offending industry do you anticipate your concept will be able to identify and reach? Make sure you explain your reasoning. [character limit: 1000]

Social Impact

3.1 How will your concept impact the mesothelioma community as a whole?  Does it provide new opportunities for friends/family members to share their stories? Does it increase awareness in the medical research community? Does it promote corporate accountability? [character limit: 1500]


3.2 What are the steps required for implementation?
This should be a list of action items required to build and implement your concept.  What resources will you need to accomplish each step? What potential challenges might come up and how might you address them? Are there any particular groups or organizations you would need to partner with for implementation? [character limit: 4000]

3.3 Why will your concept be successful?
How is your concept innovative? What makes it unique? What resources are you optimizing? Have you done any preliminary testing or prototyping of your concept? Are there other examples of this type of concept that indicate the likelihood of success? [character limit: 2000]

3.4 What is the biggest challenge you foresee in implementing your idea? [character limit: 1000]

3.5 Do you have specific experience or a skill set that will assist in the success of your concept if it is implemented? [character limit: 1000]

Additional information may be requested before making a final selection of Winners.



The total prize purse for this competition is $25,000 with two available prizes:

First Prize


Second Prize




December 12, 2016


January 12, 2017

Challenge Launch

May 12, 2017

Submission Deadline

May 13, 2017

Judging Begins

July 5, 2017

Judging Ends

July 11, 2017

Winners Announced


Plans for the Winning Solution

The sponsor may choose to implement the winning solution post-competition. This may involve hiring the innovator(s) directly or contracting with third-party consultants.  All intellectual property rights, if any, will remain with the Innovator. Innovators who are awarded a prize for their submission must agree to grant the sponsor a royalty free, non-exclusive, license in all Intellectual Property demonstrated by the winning/awarded submissions. See the Challenge-Specific Agreement, which will be made available upon registration, for full details on intellectual property.


Additional Rules

Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open to all adult individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Teams may originate from any country. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the field of mesothelioma is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, which will be made available upon registration.

Intellectual Property

See the Challenge-Specific Agreement, which will be made available upon registration, for full details on intellectual property.

Legal Compliance

The concept must adhere to US privacy laws (e.g. HIPAA) regarding the protection of health information and the ability to directly communicate with individuals. An example might be: adding terms on a website that a user must agree to, allowing the sponsor to contact users

Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website, on or before 11:59pm EST on May 12, 2017. All uploads must be in PDF format. No late submissions will be accepted.

Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the weighted Judging Criteria section above. The determination of the winners will be made at the sole discretion of the sponsor.

Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.



Challenge Updates

Pete Wachowski announces the results of the Justice for Mesothelioma Challenge

July 25, 2017, 1:44 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who submitted in and supported the Justice for Mesothelioma Challenge. [Video Announcement]


While the effort and passion of the submissions were clear; unfortunately, none of the entries achieved the goal of this challenge. Pete would like to recognize the two leading innovators with a $1,000 prize each to compensate them for their time and energy. Thank you to Mitul Sarkar and Mohamed Beyoucef for your contribution and efforts.

In addition, Pete is donating $5,000 to the International Mesothelioma Program as a thank you to the HeroX community and to further support Mesothelioma sufferers around the world.

Winners will be announced July 11th!

June 14, 2017, 7:23 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Greetings Innovators,


First of all, thank you again to everyone who submitted an entry to the Justice for Mesothelioma Sufferers Challenge! Of course, we also owe our sincere gratitude to those who are simply following along and sharing this initiative. You are all contributing to our goal of raising awareness for Mesothelioma sufferers.


The judging panel has been busy reading through your submissions and has asked for a little more time before making their final decision. The winners' announcement is now scheduled for July 11th. Thank you for your patience.


In the meantime, you can check out the latest on the HeroX blog...

Last Call for Submissions

May 12, 2017, 9:28 a.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

Today is the day! It's May 12th everybody, and at exactly 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time the Justice for Mesothelioma Sufferers Challenge will be closed for submission. 

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time. 

If you still have questions or concerns, now is the time! Comment directly on this update and we'll be happy to respond as quickly as possible. Please report any technical issues you experience with the site, even if you resolve them yourself - we want to be sure everyone has a smooth submission process. 

Thanks, and good luck! 

2 Days Remaining!

May 10, 2017, 9:23 a.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

This is your official two-day reminder!

Two days and 11 hours to be exact! That's right, the Justice for Mesothelioma Challenge will be closing this coming FridayMay 12, 2017 at exactly 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time. 

At exactly 11:59 pm EST, we can no longer accept new submissions! 

Got questions?

Now is the time to speak up! Comment directly on this update with any questions about the submission process and we'll get back to you right away! 


Five Days Left to Submit: Check out these tips!

May 7, 2017, 9:46 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

We are quickly approaching the final days open for submission to the Justice for Mesothelioma Challenge. The deadline is Friday - May 12, 2017 at exactly 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (New York/USA.) 

Here are couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry process:

1. Begin your submission process several days before the cutoff time. This allows you to ensure everything you have been working on can be seemlessly integrated into the form.

2. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this! 

3. Review the Challenge Guidelines to ensure your submission is complete. Pay particular attention to the judging criteria which will be the scorecard used to evaluate your entry.

4. Have any questions? Head over to the challenge forum and we would love to help you out. 

Thanks so much, and good luck to all! 

Honourable Mention
Safa Hassine's team Safa Hassine's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Asbestos in the US
Page Text in Polish [Polskie]
A Need for Data