by Missy Bowles, Fundraise for Meso Event Planner
I started RODs Benefit for Meso a year after I lost my daddy to peritoneal mesothelioma. It started out as a way to keep his memory alive but has since evolved as a way to help others in the mesothelioma community and give back to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
The original idea for the event began with a simple 5k, but has since developed into so much more. Over the years I not only host a 5k, but have also added many more elements to the event such as a barbeque lunch, raffle prizes, and a gospel sing which has kept our audience engaged. I also think it is important to get my attendees feedback and each year I take into consideration what changes if any should be made.
In addition, to maintain an annual successful event I think it is important to keep some things the same. My event is always held the third Saturday of September, close to national Mesothelioma Awareness Day, so it’s easy to remember. However, a few years back we had the same scheduled date as a large local color run and I knew for attendance to be good I had to do something. So, I incorporated color dust into my 5k with the option to go through it or around it to give participants the ability to decide which they wanted. Each year I try to keep the event fresh by adding or changing some component of the event program whether it is the menu, the kid’s activities, color dust or the music.
Getting the community involved and considering their feelings and wants truly allows them to feel like a bigger part. Keeping it fun, exciting and allowing it to be family friendly brings more people together and in turn helps us support more families that face such devastating news. Even though it is a tough day for me for many reasons and all the loss I have encountered in these last 7 years I continue forward helping others.
My attorney, Brian Prim, is my friend, sponsor and supporter in my journey to raise awareness and funds in my small little town. Together we have teamed up to really make a difference. I encourage others in the community to partner up with their attorneys to make a larger impact. Local papers, radio and news stations are contacted and help get the word out. It all starts with one, and touches many.
I welcome the mesothelioma community to join us this year on September 17th, in Eleanor, WV for an amazing experience. Together we can bring awareness to such a devastating cancer and raise funds to support those who need medical attention and care.
I know when we come together as a community we can and will make a difference for those affected by mesothelioma.