Each year, Ontario, Ohio hosts the Bruce A. Waite Miles for Meso 5k race/walk. Now in its 10th year, the race has raised a cumulative total of more than $90,000 for the Meso Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds and supports mesothelioma research — a rare and understudied cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Named after Bruce A. Waite, who tragically passed away in 2003 from mesothelioma, the annual race aims to generate awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases and to help medical research march ever-closer toward finding a cure.

Last year, the race was held both in person and virtually — to great success. This year, the race will again return to being fully on-ground and in-person.

Simmons Hanly Conroy is honored to be the national presenting sponsor of the race, which supports a cause everyone here at our firm truly believes in: providing hope for the mesothelioma community.

Early registration for the race is now open. Race day is set to take place on Sept. 19, 2021.

A Race Named in Local Hero Bruce A. Waite’s Honor

For 30 years, Bruce A. Waite served his community as an English teacher at Mansfield Senior, teaching writing and reading courses. Each day, on his chalkboard, Bruce would scrawl the following mantra:

The path to mediocrity is heavily traveled;

The path to excellence, seldom traversed.

Bruce lived his life by these words, and challenged all of the students he taught to do the same: To never settle, and to pursue their dreams. An avid runner for 33 years, Bruce never missed a single day — neither tendonitis nor seasonal colds and/or illnesses could keep Bruce from completing his daily runs, even during the worst of weather. He maintained a running journal, in which he logged more than 76,000 miles across several states

In 2002, Bruce’s breathing grew labored and he was soon diagnosed with mesothelioma. The disease, which is caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos, was aggressive and ended Bruce’s life prematurely in 2003.

His story — a man of great passion, heart and dignity is both a triumph and a tragedy: a triumph for all of the milestones he achieved and for all of the young minds he helped shape, and a tragedy for how, through no fault of his own, his running became walking and his walking soon became a struggle just to breathe.

Mesothelioma is a slow-developing disease that can take anywhere from 10-50 years to develop. Given this, often by the time doctors make a mesothelioma diagnosis, the cancer has already progressed into its final stages.

Shortly after Bruce’s death a scholarship was created in his name — the Bruce A. Waite Scholarship, which is used to support local students in the Ontario, OH area who dream of pursuing a career in education.

All Proceeds to Support Mesothelioma Research

Unfortunately, Bruce’s story is but one of thousands from all across the country — and the world. Each year, around 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States, and more than 40,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases.

Founded in 2000, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation — or the Meso Foundation, for short — is dedicated to finding a cure for mesothelioma. All proceeds from the race will support the Meso Foundation’s mission.

Please consider supporting the mesothelioma community by signing up for the race. All participants will receive a racing bib, and the first 200 registrants will receive a shirt to commemorate the occasion. The race/walk is open to all age groups. Awards will be given to the top finishers in each age bracket.

You can sign up to join the race here.

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