Baltimore Businesses Pledge to Cycle for Young Adults Fighting Cancer

MedStar Health Systems, M&T Bank, Merritt Clubs, Mindgrub, Allegis Global Solutions, and Shapiro commit to spinning for a cause during the first annual Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults Cycle to Inspire.

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) has created an exciting opportunity for Baltimore businesses to join the fight against young adult cancer, while strengthening internal teams, encouraging corporate wellness, and broadening networks. On Friday, September 15th UCF will host Cycle to Inspire, a half-day team spinathon at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore-based organizations create teams of 10 employees who will be challenged to cycle for one of multiple 45-minute spin session throughout the day led by some of Baltimore’s best spin instructors. Teams will compete to win the ‘Every Mile Matters’ award for most miles covered and the ‘Every Dollar Counts’ award for the most money raised.

The proceeds from Cycle to Inspire will help to expand UCF’s young adult cancer support services by creating a patient navigation program within the MedStar Health System in Baltimore. This new program will provide essential resources and a community of support to young adult cancer patients undergoing treatment at MedStar institutions. This service complements existing programs UCF offers at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, Children’s National Medical Center, and the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“We are excited to offer an opportunity for Baltimore-based businesses and organizations to get involved with our organization and have the ability to directly support services for young adults facing cancer diagnoses, and their loved ones, in the Baltimore area, said Brian Satola, COO at the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. “We have great organizations in MedStar, M&T Bank, Merritt, Mindgrub, and Allegis Global Solutions already committed and look forward to bringing additional companies and organizations on board.”

“The goals of the Ulman Cancer Fund are our goals too,” said Linda Rogers, Vice President of Oncology for the Baltimore Region of MedStar Health. “Raising funds, awareness, and support for the specific needs of young people with cancer is something we can all embrace. Here’s an opportunity to join forces with this incredible and compassionate organization, one we’ve long respected that directly benefits patients. We are grateful for the partnership and excited for the opportunity to participate in what is sure to be a fun way to promote survivorship and the fight against cancer.”

Team participation and sponsorship opportunities for Cycle to Inspire are available. For more information on how you can get engaged and serve young adults facing cancer, visit

Professional Women Triathletes to Give back at Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon

COLUMBIA, MD – June 16, 2016 – The world’s first “female IRONMAN” won the title by default as she was the only woman in the race. That was 1979 and now there are more than 239,000 women participating in the sport of triathlon. The IRONMAN brand has been an inclusive ambassador of the sport since its beginning and has helped to propel the number of women participating in the sport through it’s Iron Girl brand. UCF Races, the organizer of the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon presented by ClearShark, is making plans to celebrate women in the sport even more at the 2016 event on August 7th.

In its 11th annual year, the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon presented by ClearShark, one of the largest women’s sprint triathlon events in the country, is inviting professionals to be a part of the race, but not actually race. There are no prize purses or elite waves here, just four women with a strong desire to give back to their hometown and women in the sport.

“One goal of integrating professional and elite women triathletes into the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon weekend is to enhance the participant experience by adding events, training opportunities and advice from experts, “ said Erica Johnson, UCF Races Co-Race Director. “But our biggest goal is to further the prominence of women in the sport and all of these women are the type of women we want to expose our participants to, both on and off the course.”

The four women committed to participating in the weekend’s events include; 20-time Ironman Finisher, Alyssa Godesky; recent pro-card holder and medical student, Emily Sherrard; local elite triathlete, Howard County School Teacher and former Iron Girl Columbia Champion, Suzy Serpico and former USA Triathlon Athlete of the Year and Columbia Triathlon course record holder, Bec Wassner, who also has close ties with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, the beneficiary of this event.

“This initiative struck a chord with me immediately,” said professional triathlete, coach and 20-time Ironman Finisher, Alyssa Godesky. “I’m passionate about propelling women already in the sport and inspiring others to get involved. This hits close to home for me.”

Along with Alyssa, participants will have the chance to meet and interact with Emily Sherrard who is recent medical school graduate, deferring her residency to pursue her dream of professionally competing in triathlons, Bec Wassner who is recently a mother of two and is now balancing a family with training and Suzy Serpico who is a full-time teacher and running her own training business while not sacrificing her own training. These testimonials of passion, perseverance and balance are all stories that women need and want to hear, and now they’ll get to right here at a local event.

A highlight event of the weekend will be a shakeout run with Bec Wassner in Centennial Park on Saturday, August 6. Other events include a panel discussion and an opportunity for autographs and one-on-one tips. In addition, all four women will be present on race day, August 7, 2016, not racing, but cheering on the more than 1500 women participating in the day’s sprint triathlon.

To learn more about all of the weekend’s events or register, visit Registration for the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon presented by ClearShark will be open through July 22, 2016.

About the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults & UCF Races

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults ( is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults and their loved ones impacted by cancer. Founded in 1997, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults works at both the local and national level to ensure that all young adults impacted by cancer have a voice and the necessary resources to thrive.
UCF Races was established in 2010 to further the mission of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. UCF Races produces first class endurance events that enrich the community, celebrate the achievements of every participant and ultimately spread awareness of the young adult cancer fight.

ClearShark Named Presenting Sponsor of 2016 Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon

ClearShark Named Presenting Sponsor of 2016 Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon in Partnership with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

COLUMBIA, MD – March 16, 2016 – The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is proud to announce an official partnership with IT Solutions Provider, ClearShark, which includes the presenting sponsorship of the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon to take place on August 7, 2016. In addition to presenting sponsor of the August event, ClearShark will also be a featured sponsor of the Columbia Triathlon on May 15, 2016; both triathlons are organized by and benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Committed to supporting the local community and particularly organizations in the cancer space, ClearShark first reached out to the Ulman Cancer Fund in the fall of 2015 and the relationship has since developed into a formal partnership.

Named the best women’s event in the Mid-Atlantic, 2016 marks the 11th year of the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon, a widely popular, sprint distance race, held in Centennial Park. This inspirational event is about empowering women toward a healthy lifestyle, and celebrating each woman’s unique journey toward the finish line. The addition of ClearShark as the presenting sponsor will increase on-course support and enhance the overall race day experience for participants.

ClearShark avidly supports local community events and activities, and it is an organizational priority to donate to local charities such as the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Becoming the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon official presenting sponsor is the most recent activity in a series of engagements in which the two organizations have joined together. In November of 2015, ClearShark participated in the Across the Bay 10K, the company’s mascot ran to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund, donating $2 for every runner the mascot passed. ClearShark donated $5,000 as a result of this effort. Since then, staff members of the Ulman Cancer Fund have shared ways the organization changes the lives of young adults impacted by cancer with ClearShark employees and provided them the opportunity to put together chemo care bags for patients currently in treatment.

“The Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon is an inspiring event that empowers women athletes and promotes a healthy lifestyle, something we’re thrilled to be a part of,” said Brittany Wilson, Marketing Manager for ClearShark. “We’re looking forward to having employees participate in the race in addition to motivating athletes throughout the day.”

“Receiving support from ClearShark at this level is exciting for our entire organization and will directly benefit not only the athletes participating in our two triathlon events this year, but on a greater scale, will benefit the young adults and families we work with,” said Brian Satola, Chief Operating Officer of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

Registration for the 2016 Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon presented by ClearShark is open online at through July 22, 2016. All proceeds from the race benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

About the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults & UCF Races
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults ( is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults and their loved ones impacted by cancer. Founded in 1997, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults works at both the local and national level to ensure that all young adults impacted by cancer have a voice and the necessary resources to thrive.

UCF Races was established in 2010 to further the mission of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. UCF Races organizes the Columbia Triathlon and Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon, first class endurance events that enrich the community, celebrate the achievements of every participant and ultimately spread awareness of the young adult cancer fight.

About ClearShark
ClearShark ( is an IT Solutions Provider and a 2014 and 2015 Inc. 5000 company based in Hanover, Maryland. ClearShark is a team of highly experienced sales professionals who provide their expertise to deliver the best overall enterprise storage, cyber security, virtualization, high performance computing, datacenter and cloud infrastructure solutions to the federal government. ClearShark’s award-winning partnerships with industry-leading innovators ensure that their customers receive the ideal combination of products and services to exceed their mission and goals.


Ulman Cancer Fund to Build First-of-its-Kind House in East Baltimore

Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults to build first-of-its-kind house in East Baltimore for young adult cancer patients and families
House announcement accompanied by launch of a $3 Million Capital Campaign

BALTIMORE, MD – February 3, 2016Among an audience of more than 700 supporters, patients and corporate partners at the organization’s annual Blue Jeans & Bowties Ball, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) announced the official launch of a $3 Million Capital Campaign and the organization’s biggest project to date – building The UCF House. The Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the Ulman Cancer Fund’s 18-year history and includes a priority to serve an unmet need of patients in the community, providing free housing for young adult cancer patients and their families while receiving treatment in Baltimore.

“Young adult patients age out of many other facilities or don’t find critical peer support at non-age specific facilities. With treatment protocols that require them to stay near hospitals for long periods of time, housing can be crippling financially and prevents some young adults from receiving treatment at top-notch Baltimore hospitals,” said Brock Yetso, President & CEO of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. “Our organization exists to remove barriers and drive change – for years we’ve wanted to make this home away from home for young adult cancer patients and their families a reality, and now it is becoming one.”

Through a strategic collaboration with East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI) UCF was able to acquire four attached row homes on East Madison Street, just north of the Johns Hopkins Hospital campus. “We’ve been welcomed into the community by EBDI and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the neighborhood’s transformation,” said Yetso.  UCF also has the support of District 45 legislators, Senator Nathaniel J. McFadden and Delegate Cory V. McCray, who are sponsoring a bond bill requesting funds for the project.  “Fostering relationships between the public and private sectors is key to addressing challenges in our city, and I am encouraged and inspired by UCF’s interest in helping to strengthen our community,” commented Delegate McCray.

Visioning sessions with medical professionals, patients, and caregivers, and planning meetings with architects and builders led to the design of a unique, comfortable, supportive, and empowering space that will include eight family suites, a gym/wellness space, a relaxation space, resource library, outdoor space in the forms of a backyard and a rooftop deck.  The UCF House will be conveniently located within blocks of Johns Hopkins and a short distance to other downtown Baltimore cancer centers.

Dr. Kenneth Cooke, Director of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, works closely with young adult cancer patients and is supportive of UCF’s efforts to open The UCF House.  “Young adults fighting cancer face real challenges when it comes to finding affordable housing during treatment, in particular when they have to stay within a few miles of the hospital for 100 days after a bone marrow transplant.  The UCF House will meet this need and offer a place where young adults can find much needed peer support and a sense of community.”

The House will cost approximately $1 Million to build and open, and $200,000 to operate each year. UCF has embarked on a Capital Campaign to raise $3 Million with three priorities – to build the House and raise funds to operate it for the first three years, grow the organization’s endowment, and enhance existing programming for young adults and families impacted by cancer.

At the time of this announcement, the organization has reached two-thirds of the campaign goal during a “quiet phase” thanks to generous lead gifts from The Kirk Family Foundation, The Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Foundation, The Bradley T. MacDonald Family Foundation, and The Family of Jamie L. Roberts. Every UCF staff member has made a personal contribution to the Campaign, with total staff giving exceeding $100,000.  At the event Saturday night, when the Campaign was officially launched, an inspired audience made gifts totaling over $100,000 towards the Campaign.  The event raised well over $300,000 in proceeds.

The UCF House is expected to break ground before the close of the first quarter with a projected completion date before the end of the year.  The Capital Campaign is now public and every dollar donated will help change a life. About her family’s gift, Kellie MacDonald shared, “As a family that has personally been impacted by cancer and benefited from the great work of the Ulman Cancer Fund, we’re thrilled to support this Campaign and The UCF House.  We have a rare opportunity to be involved in a labor of love to improve our city and change the face of cancer care for young adults in Maryland. Together we can make a difference now, and I encourage others to consider joining us as we bring support and hope to patients and families fighting cancer here in Baltimore.”

To learn more about how you can make an impact, please visit or contact UCF’s Development Director, Shara Boonshaft, at (410) 964-0202 x112 or

In Memory of Stuart Scott


#facingtheissues, by Julie Lanahan

Stuart Scott

All of us here at the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults had heavy hearts when we learned about Stuart Scott’s passing earlier this month at the age of 49 after a courageous battle with appendiceal cancer. He was loved by his family (he leaves behind two daughters – Sydni and Taelor) and beloved by his fellow ESPN colleagues, sports fans, athletes, the cancer community, the world.

When he was awarded the Jimmy V. award at the ESPYs in July, he gave a poignant speech about how despite everything that cancer had thrown at him, he intended to live life on his own terms. He was not going to let cancer dictate how he lived.

Scott gave us all a different perspective on the cancer fight. It wasn’t about winning vs. losing…it was about living each moment that you have with meaning and with purpose.

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

A cancer diagnosis can rob anyone of living their life in the manner they had always imagined. That was not the case for the late Stuart Scott and should not be the case for anyone living with or surviving cancer.

Scott lived with an incredible zest for life on his terms despite his cancer diagnosis. “He didn’t just push the envelope,” says sports radio host and former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. “He bulldozed the envelope.”

In the David Wygant’s article below, he asks: “If Stuart Scott could crawl into your body, what would he do with your life?” Let us know.

Read David Wygant’s article here. Cancer Changes Lives…So Do We!

Be Proactive! Open Enrollment 2015


by an Ulman Navigator, #facingtheissues

With open enrollment for health insurance just around the corner, it is an important reminder that everyone facing cancer be able to have access to treatment. Historically, research has shown that young adults have the highest rate of uninsured of any age group. With the Affordable Care Act, young adults can remain on their parents’ health insurance through the age of 26. Open enrollment for health insurance begins November 15th and spans through March 31st. For more information about health insurance options for young adults with cancer, check out the following organizations:


Cancer Legal Rights Center

Patient Advocate Foundation

By |November 14th, 2014|In the News, News|0 Comments

What is the Oncofertility Consortium?


post by Meghan Fitzgibbons, #facingtheissues

Do you know about the Oncofertility Consortium?

First, you may wonder what “oncofertility” is – this term refers to an interdisciplinary field that combines oncology and reproductive medicine, expanding fertility options for cancer survivors.  The Oncofertility Consortium is an interdisciplinary initiative that provides information and resources to help cancer patients navigate the complex fertility issues they face.

On the Oncofertility Consortium website, you will find a vast amount of information for patients, health professionals, scholars, teachers and students.  One of the most helpful aspects for patients is the Fertility Preservation Patient Navigator website, which provides information regarding fertility preservation with an interactive patient decision tool, stories of patients who preserved fertility before treatment, and tutorials about preservation procedures.  The decision tool guides patients through the key factors that are considered when making decisions about fertility preservation, including sex, pubertal status, and disease stage.

Patients will find also find detailed descriptions of their fertility preservation options.  Women can learn about egg, embryo and ovarian tissue banking, as well as ovarian transposition.  Men will find information about sperm and testicular tissue banking. and iSaveFertility are additional resources provided by the Oncofertility Consortium.  At, patients can find answers to their fertility preservation questions, guidance for talking with physicians about fertility, and assistance in locating a nearby fertility preservation specialist.  With the iPhone application, iSaveFertility, patients, parents, and partners can view educational pocket guides about fertility preservation for men, women and children from their smart phones.

Finally, the Fertline (866-708-FERT) is available to connect patients with a fertility preservation program and refer them for consultations or procedures.  Patient Navigator Kristin Smith walks patients and providers through all aspects of the process, explaining options for each case, working with oncology teams, and providing insurance and financial guidance to patients and families.

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with cancer, or you are a healthcare provider working in oncology field, the Oncofertility Consortium is a must-see, amazing resource.

By |October 10th, 2014|In the News|0 Comments

#FacingTheIssues: Tracing Cancer To Domestic Violence











“Cancer impacts everyone in a family, not just the patient.”

Domestic Violence has been in the news a great deal this week, especially for those of us who live in Baltimore. The connection between cancer and domestic violence may not at first be an obvious one but for those of us who work with patients and families in the midst of the stress and chaos of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival, it is a frequent reality. In fact, some organizations, like the AVON Foundation for Women, focus exclusively on the two causes- eradicating breast cancer and ending domestic and gender violence. And did you know, that October, well known for pink ribbon as well as pumpkins, is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

Having cancer, being diagnosed with cancer, and being treated for cancer are all extremely stressful life events. Cancer impacts everyone in a family, not just the patient. Patterns of interacting with each other (both positive and negative) tend to be accentuated during a cancer experience. If you or a family member has dealt with anger in the past by using physical force, hateful, aggressive language or controlling behaviors, it is very likely they/you will continue to do so but even more intensely.

As a patient navigator for young adults living with cancer, I have worked with a handful of young couples who are in physically and emotionally violent relationships. It is important to remember though that domestic violence is not limited to those in romantic partnerships. Physical and emotional violence can be inflicted by siblings, parents and other relatives.

There are several resources I recommend locally including the hospital-based domestic violence programs at Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital Center and GBMC (410-601-8692; 410-496-7555).

Helpful resources at the national level include the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233.

It is especially important for cancer patients to remember that just because someone drives you to treatment or helps you purchase your medication, it does not give them the right to harm you physically or emotionally.

Many young adults I work with are dating or begin to date when they are able to return to work or school after treatment. Dating violence and “date rape” on college campuses has also been in the news recently. I encourage young cancer survivors just re-entering the dating scene to think carefully about how they wish to disclose their cancer survivor status to potential romantic partners. I also provide education on what constitutes a health dating relationship and often refer them to Love Is Respect.

Written by Elizabeth Saylor, MSW. Elizabeth is an  Young Adult Patient Navigator at University of Maryland Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. You can reach her at

“When Cancer Derails the Millennial Dream”

“Will my boyfriend or girlfriend abandon me to the demands of my disease? Can my friends relate to me anymore?” 

-Mashable : Wedding, Career, Chemo: When Cancer Derails The Millennial Dream

Jenna Benn after her first round of chemo.

Jenna Benn is a survivor of a rare cancer type known as gray zone lymphoma, which she was diagnosed with at age 29. In the winter of 2010 she was forced to ask herself the above questions along with thousands of others young adults facing cancer. In fact 70,000 young adults are told that they have cancer each year. And just like Jenna, all of them have to put their lives, which are just starting to get underway, on hold. Many have just settled into a steady job, moved into that “great apartment”, and have built a solid group of friends. So when facing cancer, young adults have myriad of issues that are unique to them, and not any other age group. Such as just losing the sense of independence that they have just developed. Or concerns over how their physical appearance, fertility, and relationships with friends and lovers are all changing at once. One top of that are the endless finical concerns including continuing education, paying insurance and medical bills and trying to stay employed during treatment. Jenna Benn’s amazing cancer story has her navigate these major issues and end her journey with a network of support and the discovery of a partner she plans to share her life with. Read the full article here!


Jenna Benn under going chemo.


We at the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults provide the support and resources to help those like Jenna also complete their cancer journey with the support they need. Either through weekly support groups, scholarships, training programs like our Cancer to 5k, ChemoCare bags, or just our resource guide and informational directory. And you can help too by volunteering with us in numerous ways. Whether you spend time cleaning a cancer patients home in our Helping Others Fight program, acting as a volunteer coach in Cancer to 5k, joining Team Fight or the Cancer to 4k, you can help make a difference in the lives of those impacted by this disease.

Cancer Changes Lives…So Do We!




In The News: Baltimore Business Journal & TriColumbia

Yesterday the Baltimore Business Journal released an article which stated our hopes to acquire the rights to several of the Tri-Columbia races. The article, written by Sarah Meehan, summarizes CEO, Brock Yetso’s, open letter of intent, which was released yesterday.

“When the Columbia Triathlon Association said its race events would go on as planned, the organization didn’t exactly specify how that would happen.

Brock Yetso, CEO of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, says he has an answer to ensure at least some of the races continue. The Ulman Fund wants to acquire and produce all five of TriColumbia’s races in Howard County — the Columbia Triathlon, the Iron Girl half marathon, the Iron Girl Columbia triathlon, the Kidz Triathlon and the Celebrating Heroes swim.

Yetso said the Ulman Cancer Fund, which was founded in Howard County, is ready to take over the races. The Ulman Cancer Fund has experience putting on its own events, and it’s one of the charities TriColumbia benefits.

‘We’ve put on events, running events, triathlon events,’ Yetso said. ‘We’ve been in the business 16 years so we have ideas of what events need to happen.'”

You can read the rest of the Baltimore Business Journal’s article by following this link

And you can read the Open Letter to our Community here

Cancer Changes Lives…So Do We!

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