Meso Awareness Day Events: Part One

ROD's Benefit for MesoSeptember 26th is nationally recognized as Mesothelioma Awareness Day. As important as it is to spread awareness every day of the year, September 26th is the biggest day to do so. Events are one of the best ways to raise awareness and funds for mesothelioma, and there are many coming up surrounding September 26th. As mesothelioma is a widely unknown and underfunded form of cancer, raising awareness is a huge step in the right direction towards finding a cure.

Four events will be held on Saturday, September 21st. The weekend will start off with Mission Cure Meso: Run for a Cure. Beginning at 8am, Karen and Mark Kalber will be running in the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio in honor of Rich Mosca and all meso warriors. Karen will be running a full marathon, and Mark will be running a half marathon. Anyone interested can support their efforts in the race by heading to Karen and Mark’s fundraising page.

Kayaking 4 Meso

Mark Wells’ 3rd Annual Kayaking 4 Meso event will also be held on September 21st. This one-way kayaking event will have two launch times. The first launch will be a 16-mile paddle beginning at Fort Hardy Park in Schuylerville, New York at 8am. Everyone will meet in Stillwater, New York for the second, 3-mile launch at around 12pm. All kayakers will finish the paddle together at Mechanicville Boat Dock in Mechanicville, New York where festivities will continue until 4pm. For more information, visit the event’s website at kayaking4meso.org.

In Alton, Illinois, the 5th Annual Miles for Meso Alton event will start at 8am on September 21st to raise funds for mesothelioma research. This event will consist of a 5k Race as well as a 2k Fun Run/Walk. There will also be activities for children, live music, and vendors. Those interested in registering for the race can do so for $30 at milesformeso.org. Registration will also open the morning of the event at 7:30am for $35. For additional information, contact the event organizer Julie Gundlach at 314-616-9272.

Closing out September 21st is ROD’s 4th Annual Benefit for Meso at Eleanor Town Park in Eleanor, West Virginia. Registration will begin at 10:30am for $25, which includes an event t-shirt as well as other goodies. A 5k run/walk with a purple and lime green color scheme will be held in the morning with prizes for the best times. Throughout the day, there will also be lunch, live music, family activities, and raffles. More event information can be found at rodsbenefit4meso.webs.com or through the event organizer Missy Bowles at 304-395-0636.

There will be two events on Sunday, September 22nd in Ohio and New York. The Bruce A Waite Miles for Meso 5k Run/Walk will be held at Ontario High School in Ontario, Ohio. Registration will open at 1pm and the 5k will begin at 2pm. For more information, visit brucewaite5k.com. In Phelps, New York, Mission Cure Meso: Annual Dog Walk for Meso will be held at Ontario County Pathways beginning at 1pm. This event is being held in memory of Dr. John Wright. Janice Wright, the organizer, can be contacted at jwrigh1@rochester.rr.com for more information.

Want to join the cause in the fight against mesothelioma? See more on how you can get involved.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day Events and Activities

100_0430September 26th, Meso Awareness Day, will be here in a little over one month, and with that, the Meso Foundation and its volunteers are busy organizing events and planning various activities to help us get the word out about the need for research and to raise funds for research and patient services.

If you would like to attend any of these events, please contact the Foundation for more information.

If you plan on joining us in New York, here is the plan:

  • Thursday, September 26 at 5:30 AM | Rockefeller Plaza:  we will be meeting in Rockefeller Plaza to raise awareness at the Today show.
  • Friday, September 27 at 9 AM | Conference: join us at the regional conference on malignant mesothelioma at the Harvard Club in New York City. More information and registration form are available on our website.

Other awareness activities include:

COMMUNITY EVENTS:

FOR THE FOUNDATION: Ridin’ The Wind with Rob

Fundraisers come in as many varieties as there are interests. Fundraisers are also tributes to the people that inspire them; and for Jill Cagle, her special event this weekend is not just about raising awareness for mesothelioma research. It’s a celebration of a life well lived. This fundraising event is “Ridin’ the Wind with Rob,” happening this Saturday, July 28.

Jill’s husband, Rob Cagle, was an avid rider. Whether it was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with its signature roar or something more serene like a ten-speed bike, Rob loved to feel the wind in his hair and the sun on his skin, prompting his favorite turn-of-phrase, “It’s All Good.” Jill wanted to celebrate that love of the open road alongside the memory of her husband and so she put together this family-friendly event happening this weekend in Pekin, Illinois. Whether you ride a Harley, a Yamaha or simply wish to ride your car, you are invited to take part in this, 91-mile long, ride (or drive) for meso awareness. “We have a variety of events planned for the day,” Jill promises. “We’ll be registering your vehicles between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and for the kids we will have games to play. If you’re not riding, we’re also raffling off donations from local vendors and holding a bake sale. We’ve got something for everyone.”

“Ridin’ the Wind with Bob” is more than just an open ride through the streets of Pekin. Starting at 4 p.m. at Goodfellas will be a spaghetti dinner, a $6 charge for anyone 13 or older, $4 for kids between 4-12. “This event will be, I think, very much like Rob’s spirit,” says Jill. “This will be fun for all ages and people will bring out their favorite set of wheels and enjoy a day in the sun. This is how he would want to reach people — not with fear or anger, but with a positive, fun attitude, showing people the best way to stand up against mesothelioma cancer — by living.”

“Ridin’ the Wind with Rob” will happen this Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. (with a blessing of the bikes at 11:30 a.m.) and will last all day. The spaghetti dinner is at Goodfellas from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on this event or to make a donation in Rob’s name, call Jill at 309-267-3155. For more on upcoming events in the meso community, visit our website at CureMeso.org.

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

6 Tips on Planning Your Own Fundraiser

All the way from the Southern Hemisphere, the Meso Foundation received a question from Katelyn Yates:

“Hi there, I am wondering if you have any suggestions for raising money or awareness for this terrible disease? I am very keen to help in any way.”

Perhaps the best way to raise money and awareness for mesothelioma research is, not surprisingly, a fundraiser. Mesothelioma research fundraisers of various kinds happen not only in the United States, but around the world. Just recently, the third annual Miles for Meso South Florida 8K, organized by Meso Foundation volunteer, Larry Davis, brought together hundreds of runners and raised nearly $50,000 for mesothelioma research. This weekend, James Brennan, the Meso Foundation’s own Endurance Events Volunteer is running a 100 mile Ultramarathon in order to raise awareness for more research into mesothelioma while honoring his father who is a mesothelioma patient. Erica Ruble just organized a poker tournament benefiting mesothelioma research and the Meso Foundation. And many other events are already in the works in anticipation of Meso Awareness Day (September 26)

Whether it is something as epic as a 100 mile Ultramarathon, as simple as a letter writing campaign, or as creative as a writing a cookbook, the Meso Foundation believes that fundraisers serve two purposes: they raise money for research, and raise awareness. Fundraisers are also a chance to expand your creativity, putting personal resources, interests and skills to the test in developing a success.

But where to begin? And what do I do after Step 1?

Here are a few tips from the Meso Foundation on putting together a successful and fun fundraiser.

Decide on the kind of event you want to host and if the event will help you reach your goals. This is the part that is usually the most fun, but also the most infuriating — what do you want to do to raise money? Ideas bandied about between friends can be in endless supply, but eventually it should come down to one fundraiser (with a handful of others set aside for a follow-up if your first outing demands it). What you need to find is the kind of event where donors will (eagerly) give their money for something in return. Some of the more successful fundraisers have included, but are not limited to:

  • Runs/ Walks
  • Silent Auctions/ Raffles
  • Sporting events (golf tournaments, soccer games, etc.)
  • Poker Tournaments

The important thing in fundraising, whether as an individual or as part of a group is finding something that appeals to you. For example, one meso volunteer is an avid kayaker, so he is kayaking the Hudson River to honor his young daughter Linda, who was diagnosed with meso at the age of 16. The event can truly be anything you want it to be, provided it is clear for what organization or cause the money is being raised.

Give yourself time to plan. Fundraisers should never be planned on a whim. There are many factors to consider — date, time, location, publicity, and (of course) goals. All of these factors come into play when planning a successful fundraiser. Your planning should begin with a “To Do” list and “Timeline” for you and your team, or just yourself, in order to keep your fundraiser on track and on schedule. A planning schedule can be anywhere from two months to half-a-year, depending on the resources and scale of your fundraiser.

No matter how solid your plan appears, have a contingency plan in place. When planning your fundraiser, make sure your budget has a reasonable, manageable buffer in case of unforeseen expenses. If your event is reliant on the weather, find out if you can plan for a rain date. Try to imagine every worst-case scenario you and your support staff can think of, and then try and prepare for the problems you least expect.

Give your event a realistic goal. Telling people that you are trying to raise $25,000 is better than saying we are trying to raise as much money as possible, but make sure that your goal is reachable. You don’t want to have your goal be too modest (Raising $1,000 is easier than you might think.), but you also don’t want to make your goal unobtainable. ($500,000 isn’t a million dollars, but it is still half a million dollars.) Having a goal will motivate people to help you get there. If, perchance you find yourself reaching the goal early, discuss with your group the good and bad of increasing your goal; and, as mentioned before, let people know how those dollars will be spent. People like to know where their hard-earned dollars are going.

Publicize. Take advantage of any and all appropriate publicity opportunities to get word of your event out there. Press releases to local papers, free public events listings, email lists, public service announcements on local and university radio stations, and social media all work together to publicize your event. It is important to check in advance for deadlines of listings to ensure your event is publicized, and publicized at the appropriate time. We at the Meso Foundation are also happy to help spread the word through our own website, emails, newsletter, and social media channels, provided we are given proper notice. Again, this goes back to planning and time needed to properly publicize your event.

Contact our Community Fundraising Co-Chairs. Erica Ruble and Shelly Kozicki have been there and have done that. Between the two of them, they have raised nearly half a million dollars (that’s $500,000!) for mesothelioma research through events like trivia nights, golf tournaments, quartermanias, letter writing campaigns, poker tournaments, roller hockey tournaments, community garage sales, triathlons, and partnering with local grocery stores. They look forward to helping you hit the ground running and get your event started. If you would like to learn more about being mentored by one of our Community Fundraising Committee Co-Chairs, please email Jessica Barker at jbarker@curemeso.org.

There are still other things that you can do to plan for your mesothelioma research fundraiser, and we at the Meso Foundation offer you checklists and other resources to make sure your paperwork is in order, the donations are recorded correctly, and that the money reaches the right people.

For more information on planning your own fundraiser, contact Jessica Barker at (703) 879-3819, or email her at jbarker@curemeso.org. You can also find out more information on becoming involved by visiting www.curemeso.org/events.