Fundraising Made Easy

Lava for Lance

Lava for Lance Triathlon

by Erica Ruble, Fundraising Coordinator, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

I am writing this month’s fundraising blog with a heavy heart. Friday, August 16th marked the 5th anniversary of the passing of my mentor and dad, Lance S. Ruble. It feels like forever since I have seen him and heard his voice, but like it was just yesterday that he passed away. The pain and sadness is still raw and real.

Reflecting on my dad’s passing, I am reminded why I continue to fundraise and channel my anger and sadness into something positive. I know many of you out there in our community want to contribute to finding a cure for this disease. Whether you are a mesothelioma patient, caregiver of a mesothelioma patient, or you have lost a loved one, fundraising will not only impact your life in a positive way, but will also have a profound effect on others that can be life changing.

I have the privilege of speaking with many of you in the meso community about fundraising. I hear your concerns and uncertainty about hosting your own event and I understand them. However, it is important to remember that fundraising does not have to be a daunting project. It can be easy. When I began my fundraising efforts years ago, I wrote a simple letter about my dad and mesothelioma to send to family and friends. It was a great way to ease into fundraising because it was cost effective, there was no deadline, and it was relatively simple to get started.

There are plenty of other easy ideas to jump start your fundraising efforts. A dress down day at your workplace or school is one of them. For example, employees or students can make a contribution to the Meso Foundation and are able to “dress down” (i.e. wear jeans or a hat) in exchange for their donation. Another fundraiser that many community members find stress-free to implement is a “meso night out” at a favorite restaurant. For this type of event, you designate a specific night at a restaurant of your choice and invite your friends and family to attend. The restaurant then donates a percentage of sales to the Meso Foundation from the dinners ordered by your group. Having a captive audience in a setting like this provides a great platform to educate friends and family about mesothelioma.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as Fundraising Coordinator is talking with meso community members and hearing how passionate and excited they are after they host an event. There is something unique about being able to take something negative, scary, and unknown like mesothelioma and create a positive experience not only for you, but for others as well. National Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26th, and now is the perfect time to plan your fundraiser. Please reach out to me by email, phone, or on Facebook with your questions. I encourage you to join me and the meso community and be a part of our fundraising efforts and our MISSION: CURE MESO.

Be a part of the cure. Donate to the mission to cure meso today.

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:


A Fundraising Campaign is Born

Giveby Erica Ruble, Fundraising Coordinator, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

I lost my hero and father, Lance S. Ruble, to mesothelioma on August 16, 2008. Determined to make a difference and learn more about the disease, I attended my first Symposium in Washington, DC in 2009. It was at this conference that I was inspired by the meso community – specifically by Shelly Kozicki – to begin raising funds for this orphan disease. Shelly had lost her husband Craig to mesothelioma and began fundraising in his memory. I was determined to do the same for my dad.

As I flew back to my hometown, I began brainstorming about raising funds for mesothelioma. Like so many of you out there in our meso community, I had never asked for any type of monetary donation in my life. Even when I was in grade school and we had to sell $1.00 chocolate bars for our school fundraiser, my parents would just buy the whole box. We were always too timid to ask people to make a contribution, but now all of that has changed.

I began my fundraising efforts with a simple letter campaign, putting pen to paper and sharing my dad’s story. I sent this letter to over 250 family members and friends. What I received in return was overwhelming, yet beautiful. The notes and donations came pouring in, and my letter campaign raised over $27,000. A fundraising campaign was born and this was now my new mission in life. To date, our family has raised over $223,000 for mesothelioma research and we are just beginning.

I will be writing monthly about my fundraising efforts. I hope you will join me in this movement to raise funds for mesothelioma. Knowing that there is a family out there who is just like yours and mine is one of the biggest motivations to give back. They are scared, they are not sure what treatment to choose, and most importantly, they want their loved one to LIVE.

We all have a chance in life to give back and help others. This is your opportunity! Whether you are a meso patient, a family member, have lost someone to the disease, or just want to support the cause, I urge you to get involved with fundraising. On a personal level, fundraising has helped me to heal and make sense of my dad’s passing. Of course I still question why this happened, but by giving back and helping others, my dad’s legacy – the man he WAS and STILL IS – lives on.

If you would like to contribute to the efforts of mesothelioma fundraising and raising mesothelioma awareness, you can join our cause. Donate to mesothelioma research today.

“Daddy’s Little Girl”

Erica_LanceThis Sunday is Father’s Day.  A day that is so hard for many of us. The date on the calendar stares back at me, as I recall fond memories of an amazing man- my father, Lance S. Ruble.

My father was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in August 2007. His life, our life as a family would be severely altered from that date forward. My dad embodied the meaning of “LIFE” and getting better for his family was now his only mission.

Facing the disease head on, he bravely chose to undergo all possible treatments available. He had chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation all in just 10 months. My dad was a fighter, like so many dads out there who have also courageously battled the disease. Sadly, one year later, my dad, my mentor, my hero, my friend, was gone. The man who I looked up to, the man I sought out advice from, the man who told me that everything would be all right, the man who was always there, was there no more.

I know many of you can relate to my words because you have lived them too. Though Father’s Day and really every day without my dad is difficult, I am often reminded how lucky I was, how fortunate I still am to have had this type of relationship and man in my life.

Even five years later, when I am making a major life decision, I am thinking “What would dad do?” When my son scores a goal at soccer, I can hear him say “Way to go!” When I am sad and missing him, I can see him putting his arms around me.

Very few people in our lives will make such a profound impact like our fathers have. So, as we remember and celebrate these incredible men be thankful that they have touched our lives in such a way that time will never alter.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.  Love, your little girl.

Erica Leigh Ruble is the fundraising coordinator at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. She is an estate planning lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Erica, received her JD from Nova Southeastern University Law School and her MA and BA in Communication from the University of Central Florida.

Erica’s life was forever changed when her dad, Lance, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma on August 7, 2007. Lance owned a successful construction company, coached collegiate roller hockey, and gave back to the community. But the greatest talent he shared was making his family feel loved and safe. Determined to get well, he had chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation in 10 months. He passed away shortly after treatment, on August 16, 2008.

Watching her dad lose his life to such a painful disease ignited a fire inside of her to search for better treatments for mesothelioma patients. Though her dad was gone, he embodied the meaning of LIFE. It is his spirit that lives on in her to help others. Erica is committed to a life-long contribution to fighting mesothelioma. She and her family fund the Lance S. Ruble Memorial Grant which contributes donations yearly to mesothelioma research. By promoting advocacy, awareness, and research, Erica has found a way to channel her pain to help others. It is her life’s mission to eradicate the vicious effects of this orphan disease.

FOR THE FOUNDATION: Missy Bowles, Fundraising Champion

Missy Bowles lost her father, Richard O. Dorsey, to mesothelioma cancer in the late summer of 2008; but for this tireless, driven individual, the loss of a loved one to this disease was merely the beginning. It was in 2009 that Missy’s Google search for “mesothelioma support” led her to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. At this point, she made an oath to do what she could to promote awareness and raise funds for important research into malignant mesothelioma. Three years later, Missy is continuing the fight and nurturing her belief in a cure. “The Foundation was able to direct me back then in my first steps of how to put a fundraiser together,” Missy recalls, “and from that point on it took off.”

As we have blogged previously about creativity in a fundraiser, Missy quickly realized that the only limitation in what she could do to bring to everyone’s attention the severity of mesothelioma was her own imagination and ingenuity. Her 5K Walk, she knew, needed to be something more, so she added to the event a charity gospel sing, raffles and a silent auction featuring local vendors, and food and fun for everyone in the family. West Virginia’s Putnam County has embraced this memorial event and is currently ramping up for the third year of ROD’s Benefit for Meso, happening this year on September 22. “This new tradition,” Mark Hailburn reports for, “is a hit while lending a helping hand. The event continues to get bigger, better, and brings more awareness to others.”

“Third time is the charm,” Missy states, “Each year we have raised around or a little over $15,000 for research, and this year I plan to top that, reaching a goal of $20,000. This September, Eleanor Town Park in Eleanor, WV will be hosting the event.” At this year’s event, some of the items being given away include Coach purses, Vera Bradley items, fishing gear, dinners, tans, and overnight stays at hotels and bed & breakfasts.

While ROD’s Benefit for Meso sounds like a lot of work (and it is!), Missy’s drive to promote mesothelioma awareness is not limited to just this yearly event. She now organizes a summer event called Smiles for Meso with professional photographer Amanda Crowder. This project is centered around Crowder’s studio offering portrait packages and sitting fees with part of the purchase going to mesothelioma research. But that’s not all.

On August 27, Missy will be teaming up with Buffalo Wild Wings in Nitro, WV for a 5-9 p.m. fundraiser where patrons (dine in or carry out) simply mention “mesothelioma” while placing their order. This will result in Buffalo Wild Wings graciously contributing 15% of that purchase towards the Meso Foundation. And if you think that’s enough for Missy and her summer, think again. All this is just a warm-up as Missy gets ready to work out for mesothelioma awareness and research.

“My first ever Zumbathon for Meso will be held on Sept. 21st in Eleanor Town Park the evening before the big run/walk event. “We will begin at 6pm with Zumba in the Park with my instructor, Katie Toney.” For those unaware, Zumba is a variety of cultural dances, ranging from salsa, merengue, and calypso, turned into a sweat-intensive, multicultural workout. “We will zumba for an hour and break for some items of raffle and then dance for another hour.” With each $15 registration, participants will each receive a tee-shirt and gift bag.

Once her summer events are over, Missy also collaborates with friends from local tanning salon Tanfastiq to create seasonal gifts that are auctioned off throughout the year to keep the need for mesothelioma research funds on everyone’s minds. “We always are blessed with the help and sponsorship of our local communities, and each year it continues to grow.”

And still, Missy is not done.

“I wanted the residents of West Virginia to understand and acknowledge mesothelioma by having a designated day for it,” she says. Last year, Missy contacted the Meso Foundation’s Government Liaison, Jessica Barker. “She provided a lot of guidance,” Missy recalls, “telling me with whom I should start talking.”  With Jessica’s help, Missy contacted House Representative Brady Paxton who was eager to meet with her and begin work on this incredible step forward for the state. She then found herself winning the support of Senator Mike Hall. Within one month of visiting the Capitol, Missy, her mother, and her son were invited to the State Capitol to watch the passage of the resolution for Mesothelioma Awareness Day to be recognized in the State of West Virginia.

With all this, Missy never loses perspective on her motivation. “I am proud of my efforts that my father’s life has pushed me to do, but this will never bring him back,” she states. “He was such and unselfish and giving man that, I know if he could, he would do all he could to help others that face this disease. So in his honor and because he cannot, I will keep fighting for him and for others. I am here to help, guide and give them advice about the next steps to take and whom to contact for help and support.”

From the Foundation, Missy, we thank you for everything you do.

Interested in hosting a fundraiser for the Meso Foundation? For more information on giving of your time and talents in your area and planning your own fundraiser, contact Jessica Barker at (703) 879-3819 or email her at You can also find out more information on being mentored our Fundraising Co-Chairs Shelly Kozicki and Erica Ruble by visiting our website at