FOR THE FOUNDATION: The Mesothelioma Community Celebrates July 4th with a 5K Fundraising Run

Just prior to the amazing 2012 Symposium held here in Washington, D.C., the mesothelioma community of Washington state came together to kick off their July 4th with family and friends (both old and new). Instead of spending the morning grilling up burgers and hot dogs and gearing up for a night of fireworks, the people of Federal Way, Washington, were offered by Pat Dyhrman, Patricia Hatley and Diana Stewart a Memorial 5K Run/Walk as the kickoff to the holiday.

This “Miles for Meso” event was held with gracious support from the City of Federal Way, the Simmons Firm, and the Community Center Staff, beginning at the Federal Way Community Center with a pancake breakfast for its runners. This Miles for Meso 5K Walk/Run had more than 150 runners/walkers registered and ready to run with the day’s proceeds going to the Meso Foundation.  “Pat and I are so lucky to have really strong supporters and volunteers who have taken up this cause,” said Diana Stewart, one of the event’s sponsors. “We even won the approval of local media.” A local news site boldly stated that “The City of Federal Way is fighting back against mesothelioma,” and the Washington-based morning show New Day invited the Miles for Meso team to be part of the studio audience.

The City of Federal Way’s mayor, Skip Priest, cut the ribbon on the event after offering inspirational words for mesothelioma warriors in their fight. Following the 5K walk/run, the event turned into a raffle featuring 30 local businesses providing baskets, gift certificates and services. In the end, Pat, Patricia, and Diana raised in excess of $13,000 for finding a cure to this horrible disease.

While the event was a tribute for all those fighting mesothelioma and for those meso warriors who had fallen in their fight, the organizers of this event dedicated the day to Dick Dhyrman a geologist from Weyerhaeuser Company; Bud Hatley, the Athletic Director from the Federal Way School District; and Bob Stewart, a Federal Way High School teacher and coach. Bob and Bud are members of the Federal Way School District Hall of Fame, honored for their outstanding work with local youth. Dick Dyhrman was highly involved in community events and a volunteer in scouting and local schools. “All three of us are inspired to fight back as our husbands did against the results of asbestos.”

The organizers regarded this inaugural run/walk as their “thank you” to the Foundation. “When we received the horrible news that our husbands had mesothelioma, the Meso Foundation became a major part of our lives. The Foundation educated us about the disease, provided support if needed and continue to help us with our grief, even today.  There isn’t a day that goes by that the work of the Meso Foundation is not on our minds and hearts,” Stewart said.

The next event coming up for the Meso Foundation to raise awareness and funds for research is the “Ridin’ the Wind with Rob”, happening in Pekin, Illinois, on July 28.

The event promises to be a mix-and-match of vehicular mayhem where participants will enjoy a group ride for a cure. Bikes, trikes, cars and all types of transportation — even rollerblades and skateboards — are welcome!

For more information and more upcoming events across the country, take a look at our Events page on our CureMeso.org website

FROM THE HEADLINES: 2012 Symposium Speaker Dr. Raja Flores on the Lasting Toll of 9-11

Dr. Raja Flores, chief of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a featured speaker at our 2012 Symposium in Washington D.C., spoke to FoxNews.com about the adverse health effects some of those first responders have faced. The article reports that Mount Sinai researchers have been following approximately 30,000 first responders, many of whom were breathing in dust containing 2,000 tons of asbestos on a daily basis as they cleaned up the site. The researchers found 30 percent had problems with asthma, 40 percent had sinus problems, and another 40 percent had gastro-esophageal reflux, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.

You can also watch the accompanying video here.

If you want to hear more from Dr. Flores, make plans to join us at the 2012 Symposium on Thursday, July 12, (9:45 a.m. – 12:00 Noon) to participate in the panel “Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs” panel. Along with Dr. Flores,  the latest in mesothelioma research will be presented by Stephen Hahn, MD, Raffit Hassan, MD, Robert Kratzke, MD, Harvey Pass, MD, Daniel Sterman, MD, David Sugarbaker, MD.

Click here to preview the 2012 Symposium agenda.

FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

Last week, on June 6, 2012, Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN, nurse practitioner and medical liaison for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense, at their Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Outside Witness Testimony Hearing. Speaking with the voice of the Meso Foundation and its community, Mary made an appeal to the lawmakers for their attention concerning mesothelioma and its impact on those who served to defend the United States.

The Meso Foundation played a critical role in making peritoneal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma eligible topics within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The first ever DoD award for mesothelioma occurred in 2008 when one investigator obtained over $1.3 million for research. A total of $7.7 million has been awarded to mesothelioma research through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, both divisions of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, which is administered by the Department of Defense since Fiscal Year 2008. Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations” »

FROM THE HEADLINES: Photodynamic Therapy Added to Lung-Sparing Surgery Improves Survival for Mesothelioma Patients

The website Medical News Today recently released findings of a new treatment for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The treatment involves PDT (photodynamic therapy) conjunction with lung-sparing surgery. Results look promising in comparison to patients utilizing other mesothelioma treatment options. In this approach, provided the patient can keep both lungs after treatment, patients face better chances in combatting mesothelioma once it returns. Patient are given a photosensitive drug that cancer cells absorb, and then Fiber optics direct light onto the tumor site, which activates the drugs, and destroys the cancerous cells.

Leading this research from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, is Dr. Joseph Friedberg, MD. In this battle against mesothelioma, considered one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, Dr. Friedberg has stated, ”While I don’t consider anything short of a cure as a victory against mesothelioma, I am encouraged by our results. Based on our new findings, we are redoubling our clinical and translational research efforts to find a way to further improve and refine this multimodality treatment approach for mesothelioma.” Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: Photodynamic Therapy Added to Lung-Sparing Surgery Improves Survival for Mesothelioma Patients” »