FOR THE FOUNDATION: A Look Back at the 2nd Annual Lance S. Ruble Poker Classic

In case you missed the 2012 Symposium held here in Washington, D.C., Erica Ruble presented a standing room only presentation alongside fellow co-chair Shelly Kozicki, and there was a good reason Erica and Shelly’s presentation was in demand — they not only know the facts of fundraising, they practice what they preach. Erica, for example is just coming off a very successful poker tournament, a now-annual event that plays the odds and doubles down in the search for a cure.

The 2nd Annual Lance S. Ruble Poker Classic took place on Saturday, May 12, 2012, with proceeds benefiting the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.  The event was held in loving memory of Lance S. Ruble, Erica’s father, who passed away from mesothelioma almost four years ago. Erica, determined to make this event a success, rallied the support of not one but two communities. “I called on my friends in the meso and poker community to come together and support this great cause for an unforgettable night.” A professional poker event company was hired to run the tournament. There would be limited spaces available to play, but Erica made sure the event would be open to the public. The tournament was sold out with 40 players (each buy-in or cost to play for the card players was $100.00 with the option to re-buy or keep playing for $25.00), and over 100 people attended the event. For those not playing, raffles and a live auction were offered, with drawings every ten minutes.  Local businesses and large corporations all contributed, and the items raffled and auctioned off were wide and varied. “We auctioned off a donated painting,” Erica said, looking back on the generosity of the event’s donors. “27 corporations or businesses in our community donated to the event. 1st place prize was a 2 night stay at Shula’s Hotel in Miami Lakes, Florida with a complimentary golf foursome.  2nd place was a 1 night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Resort in Hollywood, Florida. 3rd place was a $500.00 gift certificate to Beverly’s Jewelers. All of these prizes were donated. The generosity still overwhelms me.”

Once the last card was dealt and the final bluff called, the 2nd Annual Lance S. Ruble Poker Classic tournament raised over $8,500 for the Meso Foundation. This was $1,500 more than last year’s tournament. “We chose poker because our friends and family enjoy playing poker,” Erica states. “My family wanted to bring everyone together for a good cause, and make it a really fun night out with friends and family.”

With their experience as the Foundation’s Fundraising co-chairs, Erica and Shelly have developed their own tips and techniques to offer the community when it comes to hosting a fundraiser:

  • When you are choosing a fundraiser, pick something that your friends and family will want to participate in and is a good fit for your target audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask businesses to donate to your event and also encourage them to attend. The worst a business can say is “No.”
  • To make the event more personal, more poignant, find an event that can serve as a tribute to the loved one’s life. (The Rubles also host an annual roller hockey tournament as Lance Ruble was a roller hockey coach.)
  • Time your events to coincide with significant days of your cause. (The Rubles host an annual walk for National Mesothelioma Awareness Day in September.)

You can find more fundraising tips by visiting our website and contacting us.

“Most importantly,” Erica states, “don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. Our family has raised over $170,000 for mesothelioma research in honor of my dad, all going to research grants established in his name.” Whether it is a donation or a successful poker tournament like Erica’s here, it is all a step forward in finding a cure.

Whether it is to volunteer your time, participate, or simply make a donation, you can find out more about what meso fundraiser is coming up next by checking our website. 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.

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