George Dreith III stood victorious on last year’s stage at the Alton Miles for Meso race. He and his team, the Georgie Porgie Meso Patrol, had won the “Top Fundraising Team” Award.
It was the first year race participants were able to form a team and fundraise leading up to the race. Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol and 17 other teams, plus several individual fundraisers, helped raise an additional $5,000 for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, for a grand total of nearly $30,000 raised.
“George was overwhelmed by the amount of support that he received,” said his wife Chris about last year’s race.
George shared his story, his fight against mesothelioma that day on the stage while his 65-member team and hundreds of other participants listened. He was born in Wood River, Ill., and grew up in Alton, Ill., in the 1950s and ’60s as a member of a blue collar family. His dad worked as an aviation mechanic, and his mom worked at an Alton dry cleaners.
In April 2014, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, decades ago. Companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products knew about the dangers of asbestos. Instead of sharing their knowledge, they remained silent. Putting profits over people.
Despite the unfairness surrounding the circumstances of his diagnosis, George stayed positive and vowed to enjoy each remaining day of his life, Chris said.
“George relished the everyday moments in life that year: playing numerous rounds of golf with his son Tyler, laying on the couch watching his favorite TV shows, sitting on the screened in back porch of his home, and visiting with friends and family,” she said.
In the November after his diagnosis, he became a “Paw Paw” for the first time to Miles George. A year after his diagnosis, he proudly walked his daughter Alison down the aisle.
Sadly, George lost his battle with mesothelioma on June 12 of this year. He and Chris would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary in July. His friends and family remember him for his friendly nature, positive attitude and constant smile. He is sorely missed.
During his illness, George kept a journal in which he put forth this request to his family and friends:
“I ask you all to do two things for me. First, each morning look to the heavens and thank God for another great day on this Earth, and enjoy it with your loved ones and friends. Second, please pass forward the love you have shown me to others. You can’t believe how much it means. Thanks for being my friend.”
His inspiring fight against the cancer will be remembered through this year’s Alton Miles for Meso race on Sept. 26, which is also National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol is proud to participate in another Miles for Meso run this year to raise more money to battle this devastating disease and to honor their friend George H. Dreith III.
You can join their fight by donating to them or any of the other teams.