This September, show support for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma by participating in the 14th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K Race & 3K Fun Run/Walk, hosted annually to help raise awareness and generate funding for mesothelioma research.
To coincide with National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2022, this year’s in-person and virtual race is scheduled to begin on Sept. 24, 2022. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).
This week’s Miles for Meso Spotlight celebrates the life of Burlene Jones, a Simmons Hanly Conroy mesothelioma client whose life was an inspiration to all who knew her.
Burlene Jones: Matriarch with Mesothelioma
For nearly 40 years throughout a six-decade marriage, Burlene and her husband Sherman were repeatedly exposed to asbestos.
As an employee of Union Electric, Sherman’s career involved regular contact with asbestos-containing materials. Unfortunately, Sherman’s employer had failed to warn him about the dangers of asbestos exposure, and he had never received special gear or equipment to protect him from contamination.
After a day of assignments like applying asbestos-containing tape to repair overhead wires, Sherman would return home in his work clothes, which were contaminated with asbestos dust. While washing her family’s laundry, Burlene was also inhaling the deadly fibers that cause mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer.
In October 2011, during a hospital visit prompted by shortness of breath, doctors discovered that Burlene had maligant pleural mesothelioma. She was told she had only one year to live. The next few months proved uncertain and grim, as her chemotherapy treatments began taking a toll on her aging body and forcing her to miss out on family, community and social events.
On Aug. 9, 2012, less than a year following her diagnosis, Burlene lost her battle with mesothelioma. She was 82. The couple had celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in March of that year.
The Talented Mrs. Jones
Throughout her life, Burlene enjoyed playing multiple roles in various spaces. At home, she was a devoted mother to her three children: Sheryl, Debbie and Steve. At the office, Burlene was a certified professional secretary during a time when most women remained unemployed.
In her spiritual community, Burlene taught Sunday school, mentored fellow parishioners, played the piano and organ during services, and directed and sang in the church choir. She also performed in a jazz band.
The Cost of Cancer Treatment
Witnessing their mother’s experiences with mesothelioma was already devastating to Burlene’s children when a new burden began to plague the family: financial hardship. The expenses associated with specialized care were proving too demanding for the family, whose out-of-pocket contributions would soon be exhausted.
Based on a referral from a friend who is also an attorney, the Jones family decided to contact the mesothelioma lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy who could fight on their behalf and secure a mesothelioma settlement to cover some of these costs. And that’s exactly what happened.
As soon as the family received the mesothelioma compensation, they were able to afford higher quality health care services for their mother toward the end of her life.
Gone but Never Forgotten
For the past 10 years, the Jones family has maintained contact with Simmons Hanly Conroy and participated in the Miles for Meso race. The family enjoys the annual event as a way to spend time with loved ones while honoring their mother’s memory and helping new patients in need.
“I would like to see people be more supportive of this race just to help educate themselves and their friends, as this is an incurable disease that there’s not enough information [about] out there,” explained Sheryl. “[It’s great] to help raise awareness, and some extra money for research.”
Here are some ways to show your support for the individuals and families who have been impacted by mesothelioma:
Register for the 14th annual Miles for Meso race by Sept. 18 for $40. For your support, you will receive a Miles for Meso race day shirt, participation medal and goody bag.
On the day of the race, share a picture of yourself running or walking with the hashtag #MilesForMeso on Facebook to help spread awareness in honor of National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. All registration proceeds from the Alton race will benefit the ADAO.
Those unable to participate in the 14th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K Run & 3K Walk/Run can make a gift to the ADAO. The U.S.-based organization is the sole recipient of all proceeds from the race. All donations are tax-deductible.