Former Palisadian Returns to Will Rogers to Raise Funds and Awareness for Mesothelioma

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

Palisadians can help raise awareness for mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos by joining the eighth annual Walk/Hike for malignant pleural mesothelioma at Will Rogers State Historic Park on Saturday, October 26.

“It’s for a worthy cause,” said volunteer and member of the board Michael Arlen, who lived in the Riviera and Highlands neighborhoods, adding “they just know how to do good and have fun.”

Malignant pleural mesothelioma, the most common kind of mesothelioma, is a form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers into the lungs. As of today, it remains a cancer with few treatments—Pacific Mesothelioma Center’s mission is to find better options.

Only 40% of people who contract the disease survive past the first year and only 9% succeed in living longer than five years, according to the mesothelioma website. One-third of mesothelioma patients are veterans.

“The walk/hike for mesothelioma is one of the largest annual fundraising events in the United States,” explained Christina McSherry, a representative at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute. “Over the last four years, we have raised over $500,000 for mesothelioma research.

“All of us in our lifetime will lose someone we love to cancer, and the traditional cancer therapies of chemotherapy and radiation are not enough,” McSherry wrote in an email to the Post. “PHLBI’s patented mesenchymal stem therapy could treat a range of cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as benefiting autoimmune diseases and tissue repair.”

McSherry added, “This scientific breakthrough has broad implications on how these diseases could be treated in the future.”

Formerly held at Paramount Ranch before the area was damaged in the Woolsey fire, Arlen said that he feels there’s no better place to be than Will Rogers Historic State Park.

“Will Rogers raised more money for charity during the depths of the Depression … and brought laughter and harmony, even for those on both sides of the aisle … ,” Arlen said about the event’s new location.

The walk/hike, which will be emceed by Larry Wilcox, television star from “CHiPS” and longtime PMC supporter, takes place from 10 to 11 a.m. After the walk, there will be a lunch by Lalo’s Catering, entertainment and a drawing for “great” prizes through 1:30 p.m.

People can join as individuals or as part of teams. There are also sponsorship opportunities available.

All proceeds from the event benefit the PMC, a division of the PHLB, nonprofit medical institute. Register at phlbi.org/walk-for-mesthelioma.