Meso Advocates and Researchers Recognized with Awards Ceremony at Gala Event

Meso Advocates and Researchers Recognized with Awards Ceremony at Gala Event

In recognition of the extensive studies, long hours and emotional investment of those involved in eradicating mesothelioma, three awards will be presented at the Gala Dinner on Friday June 27th, day two of The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s 5th Annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, to be held Thursday, June 26th through Saturday, June 28th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.

The Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award, named for the late Minnesota Congressman who died from meso in 2000, acknowledges the support and initiatives of the Representative Lois Capps (D-CA); The Pioneer Award highlights the contributions of Dr. Harvey Pass, whose research is blazing a trail toward new treatment options; and The Klaus Brauch Volunteer of the Year Award goes to June Breit and Nancy Buszinski, both selected for devoting much heart and energy in the fight to treat and cure mesothelioma.

The Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award: The Honorable Lois Capps, whose daughter died from a form of rare lung cancer, has been most vocal in the House on the need for legislation to ban asbestos as well as the need for research funding and more successful treatment. Her support of Senator McCollum and others in sponsoring the legislation was crucial in getting the House to focus on the issue of asbestos and mesothelioma. Congresswoman Capps represents Santa Barbara where the Meso Foundation is headquartered and she is a staunch supporter of the Foundation.

The Pioneer Award: Dr. Harvey Pass, Director of the NYU Division of Thoracic Surgery and Former Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Meso Foundation, pioneered meso research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with his discovery of mesothelin, the first biomarker for mesothelioma, and is working on the second biomarker, osteopontin. He has published the book on mesothelioma, Lung cancer: Principles and Practices and is considered to be the lead editor on the topic of mesothelioma. Dr. Pass was also integral in creating new surgical techniques for the treatment of meso and, having begun the search for early detection of meso, he now heads the NCI Early Detection Network for Meso. 

The Klaus Brauch Volunteer of the Year Award: June Breit is a meso patient from the Philadelphia area. Nancy Buszinski is a longtime volunteer from Pittsburgh, whose husband, Tony, died of meso in 1999. They are both dedicated advocates on the local, state and national levels. June has spent countless hours helping the Meso Foundation by writing to local officials. Her keen wisdom and compassion is well-respected in her role as a coach and a supporter lovingly guiding people suffering from the disease despite the fact that she herself is ill. Nancy, the Meso Foundation’s first volunteer, is celebrated for having the original idea for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, persuading the Mayor of Pittsburgh to declare September 26th, 2003 the first Mesothelioma Awareness Day nationwide.

Also featured at the Gala is seventh grader Lexi Miletto, the granddaughter of Joseph Miletto who died in 2005 of peritoneal mesothelioma.

The Symposium, organized annually by the Meso Foundation, will highlight the latest advances in research and treatment for patients and caregivers, offer psychosocial support to them as well as those who have lost someone to the disease, and provide all who are intent on eradicating the vicious and terminal effects of this tragic cancer with significant advocacy and volunteer opportunities. The three-day conference, supported by the generosity of sponsors SimmonsCooper, LLC; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Caroselli, Beachler, McTiernan & Conboy, LLC; Merck & Co., Inc.; and Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., is dedicated to the issues of advocacy, science and community, as they relate to mesothelioma.

To register for the Symposium, go to There is a nominal registration fee. Generous financial support is available to defray travel, hotel and registration costs. No patient or family member need miss this invaluable opportunity because of lack of finances. (For the Symposium program, go to:

The Meso Foundation is the nonprofit collaboration of patients and families, physicians, advocates and researchers dedicated to eradicating the life-ending and vicious effects of mesothelioma. The Foundation spurs meso research and seed money grant funding, with over

$5 million awarded to date. The Foundation also provides patients and families with information on mesothelioma treatments, clinical trials and medical referrals through its full-time mesothelioma nurse practitioner and its website, The Meso Foundation also hosts the annual Symposium to educate patients and families on the latest advances in meso research and treatment, and advocates for a federal commitment to cure the disease.

For more information, please contact Chris Hahn at (805) 563-8400 or Joel Schnur at (212) 489-0600 x204.


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