ALTON - The 8th Annual Miles for Meso 5K and 3K Fun Run and Walk did its job in one of the best ways possible: raise awareness for mesothelioma, a terrible and rare type of cancer caused by asbestos, and have a great time while doing so.
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In the race, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 24, over 900 participants and a grand total of 1,500 people gathered on the campus of Simmons Hanly Conroy, a nationwide law firm based in the heart of Alton that is dedicated to helping those diagnosed with mesothelioma around the country, to run and remember those who have lost their lives to the disease and raise money for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).
Linda Reinstein, President and CEO of the ADAO, was on hand at the race to educate, advocate and allow the community of “Meso Warriors” to join together and celebrate those who they’ve lost.
"It was almost 13 years ago when I heard the dreaded words ‘mesothelioma’ when my husband was diagnosed. So for any of us who have cared for a loved one, a patient, or a family who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, we call ourselves warriors. None of us give up and we courageously fight to ban asbestos and build a cure.”
Simmons Hanly Conroy’s founder John Simmons holds the cause very near and dear to his heart. Not only does he work diligently with his clients through their mesothelioma and asbestos-related cases, he had lost his grandmother to the terrible disease.
“The people love walking through this neighborhood, it’s fantastic,” Simmons said. “I started our firm in 1999 and in 2012, my grandmother died from mesothelioma, so talk about hitting home. It kind of makes you feel good that you can fight for years and then now, I’m living for the fight, too.”
“ADAO is honored to be the beneficiary for the last three Miles for Meso races,” Reinstein said. “Not only does it raise funds for what we do—which is advocacy, education and community support—but we’re able to have an action table. This year, the racers are sending cards to the EPA urging them to prioritize asbestos to be one of the first ten chemicals tested and lead to a ban of asbestos.”
Before all of their T’s were crossed and their I’s were dotted, the Simmons Hanly Conroy firm, alongside fundraising teams from the race, raised an astounding $40,000 for the ADAO to pursue their goals of advocacy, education and community outreach.