The amount of research dollars for orphan diseases like mesothelioma is scarce. This is why benefit races like Miles for Meso, Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation initiative, are so vital to the effort of finding a cure.

This Sunday, Simmons Hanly Conroy will sponsor the first Miles for Meso of 2011 in Boca Raton, Florida. It’s organized by meso survivor and advocate Larry Davis. Four years ago, Larry was told he had six months to live. Larry believes he’s winning his battle against mesothelioma because of his willingness to think outside the box when it came to his treatment options and his love of running.

Larry Dr AlexanderNow, four years years later, Larry has run multiple marathons and hosted several events to promote mesothelioma awareness. For this year’s South Florida race, he’s recruited his physician, Dr. Richard Alexander, a mesothelioma clinical researcher from the University of Maryland Medical Center, to speak the night before the event about his research and the importance of fundraising events like Miles for Meso.

“This type of support is going to be increasingly important,” he told a reporter with the Sun Sentential. “The competition for research dollars is fierce these days.

According to the article, fewer than 10 percent of the research projects submitted to the National Institutes of Health receive federal funding. Less than one percent of the funded projects benefit mesothelioma or lung cancer projects.

Thanks to efforts by nonprofits like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation, alternative funding is available for medical experts who are working toward finding a cure.

Visit Miles for Meso website to learn more about how you can organize your own race and start making a difference in the fight against mesothelioma today.

Watch the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s video about Miles for Meso