Alton Miles for Meso Run/Walk Goes Virtual This Year
Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, family and friends of those affected by mesothelioma are continuing their efforts to raise awareness about the disease.
The 12th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K Run & 3K Fun Run/Walk will kick off Saturday, Sept. 26, on Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Proceeds benefit the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, which is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
“The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) looks forward to the Miles for Meso race each year as it gives us an amazing opportunity to raise asbestos and mesothelioma awareness, take action to prevent asbestos exposure and find a cure,” said ADAO president Linda Reinstein.
Because of the safety challenges posed by COVID-19, the event, sponsored by the national law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy, will be held virtually this year.
“Cancer, and especially mesothelioma, is an isolating disease,” said John Simmons, the firm’s chairman. “In this time of social distancing, we want all mesothelioma patients and their families to know that Miles for Meso is still here, supporting their fight against this terrible, preventable disease.”
Alton Miles for Meso Goes Virtual
Miles for Meso has been held in Alton, Illinois, for more than a decade. In the past, runners and walkers would register online, then show up in person for the race.
This year, things are a bit different. Participants will still register online, but will walk or run with family and friends anywhere they can do so safely while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
One bonus of the virtual run is that anyone can participate, regardless of where they live.
Asbestos.com is once again a sponsor of the Alton Miles for Meso race. Patient advocates, employees and mesothelioma survivors will be joining forces that day to raise money for the cause.
In 2019, a group of Asbestos.com patient advocates traveled to Alton for the 11th annual race, joining more than 1,200 in-person participants.
“Miles for Meso is an important event that brings all the patients, families and friends affected by this awful cancer together. It is a way to support and lift each other up,” said Patient Advocate Danielle DiPietro.
Organizers are urging race participants to share their photos and videos on Twitter using the hashtag #MilesforMeso. They can also tag Miles for Meso and Simmons Hanly Conroy on Facebook.
“This event celebrates all the wonderful lives lost to mesothelioma,” said DiPietro. “Even though the 2020 Miles for Meso event is virtual, we can connect with people across the country through social media to let them know we are united in raising awareness for mesothelioma cancer.”
Metro Tri Club will coordinate the race again this year.
“Because of the virtual format, the Alton Miles for Meso race will have a few temporary adjustments for 2020,” said race director Robin Misukonis, president of Metro Tri Club. “However, it’s still the same great race helping the same great cause.”
Once they have completed the run/walk, entrants have until Oct. 2 to upload their finish times to the Miles for Meso virtual results page.
Early registration for the event is $30 per person, and may be made online at raceroster.com. Those who register by Sept. 16 will receive a race packet that includes a T-shirt and other Miles for Meso items.
Raising Money for Mesothelioma Research and More
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Deaths from mesothelioma are preventable, which is what makes educating the public about the disease so critical.
In 2009, when Simmons Hanly Conroy launched the first Alton Miles for Meso event, its goal was to raise money for mesothelioma research and assist families who have been impacted by a mesothelioma diagnosis.
That first year, the Alton Miles for Meso event raised $30,000 through matching donations. To date, the total is $650,000.
This is the seventh year the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization will be the recipient of Miles of Meso fundraising.
“We are grateful to Simmons Hanly Conroy, the donors, racers and volunteers for making the annual event possible and for supporting our education, advocacy and community efforts,” Reinstein said.
In addition to raising funds for mesothelioma research, the event brings awareness to the efforts of activists, such as Reinstein, who are working with legislators to ban asbestos in the United States.
“The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act has great momentum in the House and Senate,” Reinstein said. “The finish line is in sight.”
Organizations in more than 11 states sponsor Miles for Meso races to help with mesothelioma awareness. To learn more about nationwide events, visit Milesformesothelioma.org.