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Early Registration for Alton Miles for Meso Ends Aug. 31

MFM 2014 5KRunners

Early registration for the Alton Miles for Meso 5K Race & 2K Fun Run/Walk will end in a week. Anyone who wants to take advantage of the early bird rate of $25 should register by next Monday, Aug. 31. After that date, the price increases to $30 through Sept. 22. After Sept. 22, registration will be $35.

The race will take place at the law office of Simmons Hanly Conroy at One Court Street on Saturday, Sept. 26. Registration the day of the race will be available onsite starting at 7:30 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m. All proceeds will benefit the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. MFM 2014 Check Photo

Participants will receive a long-sleeve, moisture-wicking T-shirt and a bag filled with goodies from sponsors.

You don’t have to be a runner to participate in the events. Miles for Meso includes activities for people of all ages. Children will enjoy the Kid’s Zone, which will have face and hair painting, pumpkin painting, an inflatable bounce house, snow cones, various games and more.

Local vendors will be in attendance at the Vendor Fair, which will open at 7:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day’s events. Vendors will include local businesses and organizations.

Free food and beverages will be available throughout the morning for adults and children in attendance.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy a mini-concert performed by Jordan Zevon, National Spokesperson for ADAO. Jordan is the son of Grammy Award winning rock singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who passed away from mesothelioma in 2003. Jordan followed in his father’s footsteps and will perform a mix of original songs and favorites by his father

Don’t miss out on this year’s fun event and register now!

Click here to register >>>

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Commemorating the Brave


Registering for the Alton Miles for Meso 5K is a great way to show support for loved ones who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. But not everyone can travel to be at the Alton race on Sept. 26.

This year the ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team will once again accept submissions of the names of mesothelioma survivors or victims. The purpose of this team is to honor or remember those who have fought hard against the disease. Names will be featured on commemorative race bibs and will be worn by runners in attendance at the upcoming Alton Miles for Meso race on Sept. 26 in Alton, IL.

ADAO18 - MMsThis week’s Miles for Meso Spotlight tells the story of Mike Mattmuller, a Simmons Hanly Conroy client in Maryland, who was a member of last year’s ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team.

Mike was diagnosed in 2011 with mesothelioma at age 29. Considering his young age, he and his wife Jessica were shocked by the diagnosis. Mike underwent an extrapleural pneumonectomy, a surgical procedure involving the removal of his left lung and the lining of the lung. He also underwent several chemotherapy treatments. Since 2012, he has remained cancer free.

“Once we got past the denial and all the anger, we knew we had to do something,” Jessica said when describing her husband’s journey with ADAO.

Last year, Mike signed up for the ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team, which is free. His commemorative bib was worn by his attorney, Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder Taylor Kerns and his investigator. Mike wasn’t the only one in his family to join in on virtual team festivities. His wife Jessica is a volunteer for ADAO and designed the graphics for ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team.

If you can’t attend the Alton race on Sept. 26, you can still get involved and show your support for people impacted by mesothelioma like Mike in one of two ways.

First, you can submit a name of someone who was diagnosed with mesothelioma to the ADAO Mesothelioma Warrior Virtual Team. That person will receive a commemorative race bib with their name. A runner of the Alton race will also wear their bib on race day.

Click here to submit a name >>>

Second, you can also register for the virtual race. It costs $25 and, for your support, you will receive a Miles for Meso race shirt to wear on Sept. 26. Then, just take a picture of yourself on race day and share it with the hashtag #milesformeso to help spread awareness in honor of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

Click here to start the registration process now >>>

All registration proceeds from the Alton race, including the virtual race, will benefit ADAO.

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Celebrating Meso Heroes Across the Miles


People come from all over to attend the Alton Miles for Meso race to show Ryan Kiwala with David Dsupport for their loved ones.

David Dioguardi and his family made the trip from Chicago to Alton for last year’s race, where his attorney Ryan Kiwala ran in his honor.

When David was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, he was told that he had four months to live.

“We were shocked and devastated,” David’s daughters wrote in their Share Your Story on ADAO’s website. “We began planning how we would be spending our last few months with him.”

David’s doctors referred him to the University of Chicago Medicine’s Mesothelioma Program. It was there he learned about additional treatment options. David had a radical pleurectomy, a procedure that removed about 90 percent of the tumors from the lining of his lung, and afterward went through chemotherapy.

Four years later, David is still fighting.

Inspired by their dad’s heroic fight against cancer, the Dioguardi family started a charity called the Mesothelioma Heroes Foundation that works to raise awareness about asbestos and fund research for a cure. The family’s “I Know a Superhero Event,” a family fun festival and softball tournament, will take place Aug. 22 in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood of southwest Chicago.

“It’s especially inspiring to see a client who takes his personal experience with mesothelioma and turns it into something so positive, like Dave has done with Mesothelioma Heroes,” said Ryan Kiwala, the Simmons Hanly Conroy attorney who worked on David’s mesothelioma lawsuit.

Attending fundraising events like Miles for Meso and the I Know a Superhero Event are a great way to show support for those impacted by mesothelioma. Join others like the Dioguardi family and register now.

ADAO17 - dugardifamilyClick here to register for the Alton Miles for Meso race >>>

Click here to purchase tickets to the I Know a Superhero Event >>>

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Miles for Meso Spotlight: Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization


Today marks the beginning of our series of Miles for Meso Spotlights. Every week between now and race day on Sept. 26, the Simmons Hanly Conroy blog will feature a story from past Alton races.

This week spotlights the stories of Jordan Zevon and Linda Reinstein, who will attend this year’s race on behalf of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). In 2014, the Alton race also benefited ADAO and raised a record-breaking amount of $30,000. This year’s race will again benefit the charity.

ADAO National Spokesperson, Jordan Zevon, learned about mesothelioma like many other patients and families: when his father Warren Zevon was diagnosed in 2002. Growing up, Jordan was close with his rock star father, a relationship that continued into adulthood. After Warren was diagnosed and given approximately three months to live, he started working on his last album, The Wind. Jordan served as his executive producer. Over the following months, father and son worked tirelessly on the album.

“I really tried to be there, and spend a lot of time with him,” Jordan said in an interview with ADAO. “…We were both scared.”

Miles for Meso Check presentation 2014

Warren lived to see the release of the album in September 2003. Two weeks later, he passed away. In 2004, he posthumously won Grammy Awards Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Wind and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for Disorder in the House.

After Warren’s death, Jordan dedicated much of his time to keeping his father’s legacy alive. He worked with many of his father’s friends to co-produce a tribute album, he accepted Grammy Awards on his father’s behalf, and he even followed in his dad’s footsteps by making music of his own.

Jordan was contacted by Linda and Alan Reinstein, who asked him to be the national spokesperson for the organization. Having been thrilled to be asked, Jordan accepted with the hopes of helping to ensure that others would not have to go through the pain of losing a loved one.

“The deadly mineral has a name, asbestos, but it also has a face in the patients, family and friends that it claims as victims,” Jordan said when discussing his father’s diagnosis.

Linda Reinstein co-founded ADAO in 2004 after her husband Alan was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2003. She knew thousands of others were going through what she and her family were experiencing and believed something needed to be done to help.

After almost three years of battling mesothelioma and undergoing numerous radical surgeries and chemotherapy, Alan passed away in May 2006. He left Linda and their young daughter behind.

“I want him back,” Linda said when sharing her husband’s story with ADAO members, “He was my soulmate and my daughter’s father, but resurrection is not an option.”

Linda experienced first-hand the pain of losing a loved one to mesothelioma and has since dedicated herself to making a difference so that someday others won’t have to suffer as a result of this preventable, man-made cancer.

Before Alan’s death, he held the position of President at ADAO. After, Linda stepped in and now serves as President and CEO of ADAO. She and Co-founder Doug Larkin spend time working with Congress to raise awareness to prevent asbestos exposure, protect public health, and on national and international educational campaigns. As ADAO says, “Hear Asbestos. Think Prevention.”

Show your support by attending this year’s Alton Miles for Meso 5K Race & 2K Fun Run/Walk.

Click here to register >>>

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Asbestos-containing Crayons, Crime Scene Kits Pose Threat to Children’s Health

Earlier this week an environmental nonprofit group, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, released a study which revealed the presence of asbestos in crayons and crime scene kits commonly used by children. Four of 28 boxes of crayons and two of 21 crime scene fingerprint kits tested positive for asbestos. All of the tainted products could be purchased in retail stores, as well as online.  The six products that contained asbestos were:

  • Amscan Crayons
  • Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
  • Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
  • Saban Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons
  • EduScience Deluxe Forensics Kit (black fingerprint powder)
  • Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit (white fingerprint powder)

Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a fatal cancer than affects over 3,000 Americans each year. According to an analysis by the U.K. Committee on Carcinogenicity, children who come into contact with asbestos are 3.5 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than young adults who are exposed, due to the long lag time between exposure and disease development.

The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that children’s longer life expectancies increase their chances of manifesting latent diseases, as they generally live longer with toxic damage. WHO also notes that children are more susceptible to harm from pollutants because of their immature and developing organs and systems, which create “critical windows of vulnerability,” to damage from toxic exposures that adults simply do not have.

Despite the thousands of lives lost to cancer as a result of asbestos exposure, the United States still has not completely banned the use of asbestos. If the U.S. took a stronger position against this deadly toxin, maybe other countries would stop trying to sell us contaminated products.

Manufactured in China and imported to the United States, the contaminated crayons and crime scene fingerprint kits are a perfect example of the lack of oversight when it comes to the production and import of consumer products.

And this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Traces of asbestos were found in popular crayon brands in 2000. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that the risk that children would inhale or ingest asbestos fibers from those crayons was extremely low, the manufacturers agreed to change their products’ formulae to omit talc, the mineral that they had used as a binding agent, which is mined from ore that is sometimes contaminated with tremolite asbestos.

And in 2007, asbestos was discovered in the powder of toy crime scene investigation kits. The powder in these kits also contained talc.

While the use of asbestos in American brands has decreased, especially in children’s products, there is no ban or regulation in place that requires consumer products, like children’s toys, to be free of asbestos. This is an alarming fact due to the way children naturally interact with some of the products tested—for example, the powder in the crime scene fingerprint kits could easily be inhaled.

Findings such as those discovered in the EWP Action Fund’s study underscore the importance of banning the use of asbestos in products. We have a duty to protect our children, who rely on us to advocate for them and keep them out of harm’s way.

Whether on a manufacturing or governmental level, changes need to be made to keep the safety of our children intact. You can help make sure that children are not subjected to the dangers of asbestos by signing the EWG Action Fund’s petition to stop sales of contaminated products.

Together, we can keep our children safe.

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