Ruble Family Making Sure Mesothelioma Awareness Day Gets Noticed

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It won’t take long for America to know that Monday, Sept. 26, is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, not when at least 50 advocates wearing bright orange Cure Meso t-shirts gather in New York’s Rockefeller Square at 5:30 a.m. to be on the set of NBC’s Today Show.

Good Morning, Matt Lauer.

Although there are fundraising events and awareness efforts waged throughout the year, no day claims more attention for the cause than Sept. 26, celebrated annually since 2004.

Lance Ruble

It’s a day to remember those who have fallen to the disease, but also a day to work toward everyone’s goal of finding a cure, which will be accomplished only by increasing awareness and funding more research.

“When my father was first diagnosed, I had never heard of  ‘mesothelioma.’ I couldn’t even pronounce it,” said Erica Ruble, whose father, Lance Ruble, died in 2008, 12 months after he was diagnosed. “And most people out there today don’t know what mesothelioma is. This day is about educating people. It’s a good day to have.”

The Ruble family has been on a mission, raising more than $150,000 for research in memory of Lance, who died at age 61. He spent his life in the construction business, where he was constantly exposed to asbestos, the cause of mesothelioma.

The family funded one particular research grant for $100,000 that went to Prasad Adusumilli, M.D., at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York. Adusumilli is a research leader in immunotherapy and genetic engineering. They met with the mayor of  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, making sure the day is recognized officially in South Florida.

They are holding one fundraiser, their annual Mesothelioma Mission Walk, Sept 25 at Volunteer Park in Plantation, Florida. It’s one of several events scheduled for this weekend in celebration of Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

Others include:

  • The Alton Miles for Meso 5K race and 2K walk Sept. 24, which starts at Marquette Catholic High School  in Alton, Illinois.

  • ROD’s 5K Walk/Gospel Sing/Lunch in Eleanor Town Park in Eleanor, West Virginia.

  • The Miles for Meso 5K at the Rail Trail in New Paltz, New York.

  • And the Miles for Meso 8K and 1M Family Run at Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

The Ruble’s Mission Run is one of a handful of small fundraising efforts the family does to raise money for mesothelioma research. Since Lance’s death, the family has held poker tournaments, roller hockey tournaments, garage sales and grocery story donation days that have helped the cause. Their most successful project was a simple letter-writing campaign. It raised $26,000.

“My goal is to make sure my father didn’t die from this horrible disease for nothing. He wanted to help others avoid what he went through,” Erica Ruble said. “It’s why we do what we do. It’s also why Awareness Day is so important. People should know what’s happening.”

Among those at Rockefeller Square Monday in the Today Show audience will be a group from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the non-profit group that originated the push to have the day recognized nationally.

They will be in the crowd waving their posters and banners, wearing those bright orange shirts, making sure their day gets its due.


Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His most recent experience is in researching and writing about asbestos litigation issues and asbestos-related conditions like mesothelioma. If you have a story idea for Tim, please email him at tpovtak@asbestos.com

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