13th Annual Alton Miles for Meso Event Helps Raise Awareness

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Sep 29, 2021
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Written By: Fran Mannino,
September 29, 2021

The 13th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K Run & 3K Fun Run/Walk was held Sept. 25-26, with close to 1,000 participants joining forces to raise $38,000 for mesothelioma awareness and research.

Although the event has historically been held in Alton, Illinois, racers participated virtually for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While not quite the same as gathering in person, the virtual format did allow for more participation from supporters nationwide.

The fundraiser is held in conjunction with Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which is commemorated annually on Sept. 26. In honor of the event’s 13th year, registered participants were given a “Lucky 13” medal to go along with their race bibs and Miles for Meso T-shirts.

National law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy presented and organized the Alton Miles for Meso run/walk, along with Metro Tri Club. The firm founded the event in 2009, and has since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for mesothelioma research and assistance to families impacted by the disease.

On Sept. 26, for the fifth year in a row, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois ensured a flag flew on Capitol Hill in honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Durbin sponsored a resolution earlier this year designating the first week of April 2021 as National Asbestos Exposure Week. The resolution also called on the U.S. Surgeon General to help educate the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure, the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer.

Supporting Mesothelioma Awareness & Research

Money raised during this year’s Miles for Meso event benefited the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating the use of asbestos and promoting awareness of its associated health risks. Race organizers set a goal of $25,000, which they far exceeded with their final tally of $38,000.

“It was monumentally impressive that more than 1,000 people gathered virtually to support our education, advocacy and community efforts. The Miles for Meso race proved, once again, that we can make change happen,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “ADAO was excited to again be the beneficiary and share mesothelioma warrior tribute bibs around the world. The race is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and expand asbestos prevention efforts.”

Women walking outdoors during Miles for Meso
Mesothelioma survivor Tamron Little, left, walks with The Mesothelioma Center’s Patient Advocates Karen Selby, RN, and Danielle DiPietro during the Alton Miles for Meso fundraising event.

Helping Mesothelioma Patients & Families

While the prognosis for mesothelioma is poor, an early diagnosis often ensures a patient has more treatment options. This is why awareness of mesothelioma and its symptoms is so crucial.

The Mesothelioma Center at is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource. Its Patient Advocates help those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases find the best care possible. They also assist patients and their families in finding ways to pay for treatment when health insurance or veterans benefits fall short.

“As the pandemic continues, we make sure mesothelioma patients are not forgotten about,” said Danielle DiPietro, a Patient Advocate and VA-accredited claims agent with The Mesothelioma Center.

The Mesothelioma Center at was a Miles for Meso sponsor at the platinum level this year. Sixty-nine team members registered to do their part in raising awareness. This included Patient Advocates, mesothelioma survivors, families and friends. Two of those survivors, Tamron Little and Emily Ward, share their mesothelioma journeys as contributing authors for The Mesothelioma Center.

“Patients like these bring hope to the mesothelioma community,” said DiPietro. “Events like Miles for Meso help fight for a ban on asbestos in the hope of seeing the number of mesothelioma patients decrease.”