To set the stage for the 15th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K Race & 3K Fun Run/Walk, Simmons Hanly Conroy is highlighting the mesothelioma warriors whose legacies have shaped this event.
This year’s race will be held on September 23, 2023 and bring together hundreds of virtual and in-person participants to raise awareness and funds for mesothelioma. The event is held to commemorate National Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and support their fight for a full asbestos ban.
As we prepare for the event, we would like to share the story of the hardworking, loving and kind George Dreith, a firm mesothelioma client from our hometown of Alton, Illinois.
Read George’s story and learn how you can honor his memory alongside other mesothelioma warriors at Miles for Meso.
George’s Mesothelioma Battle
As the son of an aircraft mechanic, George learned the value of hard work at a young age. Unfortunately, this hard work came with an invisible danger — asbestos.
Like many laborers in the 1950s and 60s, George’s parents and relatives were exposed to asbestos at their jobs and unknowingly carried asbestos fibers home with them on their clothing. This is how George was first exposed to asbestos. Later in life, George also experienced exposure to asbestos at work.
Because mesothelioma is a slow-developing disease, it wasn’t until decades later that George started experiencing symptoms. Shortness of breath was the precursor to his pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.
After his diagnosis, George endured many rounds of chemotherapy and continued to fight back against mesothelioma while making the most of his time with his loved ones. During this time, George was able to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, and he cherished the precious time spent with his grandchildren.
The mounting costs of treatment led George and his family to reach out to our mesothelioma law firm for help. A team of experienced and compassionate lawyers helped him hold asbestos companies accountable and alleviate the financial stress of his medical expenses.
An Advocate and Warrior
Several months into his treatment, George Dreith and his family took part in the 2014 Miles for Meso event to help raise awareness and funds for mesothelioma research. He and his 65-member team formed “Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol,” which quickly won top honors for fundraising.
Sadly, George ultimately lost his battle with mesothelioma in June 2015. A journal entry, shared by his family after his death, offers a glimpse into the quality of George’s character:
“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.”
George was neither defined by his exposure to asbestos nor the disease it caused. His story lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him, and he is sorely missed. His legacy continues to inspire and make a difference with each passing year.
To this day, Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol still creates a community and raises funds for mesothelioma research through the Miles for Meso race in Alton.
“Participating in the Miles for Meso race has helped very much in the healing process. It means the world to me and reminds me how much others care.”
– Chris Dreith, George’s Wife
In fact, Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol has been the highest fundraiser team for a number of years — a milestone George would certainly be proud of.
At the time of publishing, Georgie Porgie’s Meso Patrol is the top fundraising team, raising over $2,200 for this year’s event. Alison Dreith is also the top individual fundraiser, with over $2,000 raised.
Honor George’s Legacy at Miles for Meso
While George may be gone, his legacy — and the impact he and his loved ones have had on the mesothelioma community — will always be remembered.
To show your support for the individuals and families who have been impacted by mesothelioma, consider participating in Miles for Meso either in person or virtually.
Participants can register for the race:
- Until August 25 for $35
- Until September 8 for $40
- Until September 17 for $45
For your support, you will receive a free swag bag that includes a Miles for Meso shirt and other special items.
Sharing photos and posts on social media of yourself running or walking in the shirt with the hashtag #MilesforMeso helps spread awareness for National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
If you are unable to join the Miles for Meso race this year, consider donating to support the vital work done by the ADAO. All registration proceeds from the Alton race will benefit the ADAO, and all donations are tax-deductible.
Join all of us at Simmons Hanly Conroy in honoring the legacy of George and the many others who lost their lives to mesothelioma.