More than 300 run to raise funds for mesothelioma in Federal Way | Slideshow

Three hundred and twenty-three people crowded outside the Federal Way Community Center at 8:30 a.m. July 4 to run the annual Miles for Meso 5k.

At about 8:45 a.m., kids lined up to participate in the kid’s dash around the Community Center.

With 10 seconds left until 9 a.m., Mayor Jim Ferell led the countdown and the runners took off.

The third annual 5k raises money and awareness for mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

“It’s so rewarding that the community is coming out like this,” said Diana Stewart, one of the event’s organizers.

The race was dedicated to Irene Lund, Stewart’s neighbor and a long-time Federal Way resident who died last week of mesothelioma.

“She was hoping to be here,” said Cathrine Lund Martin, Lund’s daughter.

The Lund family participated in the 5k wearing photos on their chest. The photo was taken one year before Lund died. Lund fought for one year, but no long-term treatments are available, Martin said.

“[Mesothelioma] is very rare,” she said.

Around 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year, Martin said. To contrast, about 295,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.

Other families affected by mesothelioma also came out. Additionally, people ran or walked to support others they knew, such as race winner Mason Fletcher, who ran in memory of Dick Dyhrman, the late husband of Pat Dyhrman, another race organizer.

Fletcher and his family were close to Dick Dyhrman, he said, noting he is happy to support cancer research and a good cause. Fletcher has participated since the first Miles for Meso 5k in 2011.

Five-year-old Naomi Aguilar participated in the kid’s dash in honor of Dick Dyhrman. She walked the 5k last year but it was long, she said. This year she ran the kid’s dash, which was fun, she noted.

The event organizers set a goal of $15,000 to raise this year, which would put the three-year total at about $45,000. Currently, they have raised $4,009.

To make a donation, visit

Photos by Alisa Gramann, the Mirror; and Bruce Honda, contributed


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