Josh’s Story

Josh’s Story

Josh Minton thought he was invincible. A 27-year-old Army Captain in peak physical condition, Josh had already been through what he thought would be the biggest challenges of his life – four years at West Point and a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a Field Artillery Officer – and he survived both with aplomb. Engaged to be married, with a clear path forward in the Army, Josh planned confidently for his future.

While training at Fort Still in Oklahoma, Josh got checked out for what he thought must be a kidney stone. To his great surprise, he instead received a diagnosis of an incurable form of neuroendocrine cancer. He shipped off to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, leaving behind his comrades and far from his roots in Ohio. He withdrew from the world and separated from his fiancée, in denial about his new reality.

Over the next six months of chemo and self-imposed isolation, Josh processed his situation and little by little began to shift his perspective. He learned about the young adult support group at Walter Reed, run by UCF Patient Navigator Meg Fitzgibbons, and decided to give it a try. He found the group to be dynamic and flexible, and enjoyed sharing awkward moments of hilarity as well as poignant and sad reflections with his new peers.

 

Josh now reflects that the emotional challenge he continues to face is harder than any physical or tactical task he has encountered. Getting support from people at UCF and Walter Reed who could truly empathize with him, Josh – ever stubborn – rallied and decided to give support to others. He has shepherded fellow officers and enlisted through their cancer experiences, developing relationships he knew would end in heartbreak, but having the courage to do it anyway. He has completed physical feats – a half marathon, a60-mile walk, and UCF’s Key to Keys – to keep perspective, focus on the positive, and honor those who have gone before him. He has taught high school students how to be there for their friends who have cancer or chronic illnesses, and addressed elected officials at a Cancer Moonshot summit.

His body may not be invincible, but his spirit surely is. Josh, we salute you!

MJ’s Story

MJ’s Story

Meet the newest member of UCF’s Body of Young Adult Advisors (BOYAA): Marissa Hayes, also known as MJ.  Through her BOYAA service, MJ is poised to be the epitome of one of our organizational pillars: giving and getting support. Coming to BOYAA as the recipient of its 2017 scholarship, she quickly came to appreciate the community BOYAA creates and signed on to help raise funds to award future scholarships, and to give hope to other young adult survivors by sharing her story.

The fourth of seven siblings, MJ has, by necessity, learned to fend for herself. When she experienced consistent shoulder pain that she couldn’t chalk up to wakeboarding or perfecting her round-off/back handspring/back tuck combo, she persisted in seeking an answer after being told by several practitioners that she just needed physical therapy. While finally meeting with an orthopaedic cancer specialist, she received the news – alone, at 18 – that she had Ewing sarcoma.

MJ moved from Oregon, where she was enrolled at Oregon State University, to San Francisco, to seek treatment. She endured a year of chemotherapy and radiation, with some harsh side effects. Choosing this path of treatment instead of surgery, however, enabled MJ to continue as a Formula 3 driver – ultimately ranking 8th out of 40 in her nation-wide class!

As is UCF tradition, MJ has turned her frustrations into action. Feeling out of place in the pediatric hospital, she got involved with its AYA youth advisory council and social group. Inspired by a few of her caregivers, MJ has set her sights on becoming an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner – a position that will enable her to work specifically with the AYA population. Bolstered by the UCF scholarship, MJ is now enrolled in an 18-month program at theJohns Hopkins School of Nursing. Strengthened by the support she is currently getting from UCF, there’s no telling how much support she will ultimately give to others.

20 Years of Changing Lives

Dear Friends & Supporters,

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. 

This sentiment guided our Key to Keys team as they rode their bikes to Florida this April, and it represents the path we follow as an organization. Together with far more than 100,000 people who have supported the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults in some way over the past two decades, you have made great strides in surrounding young adults and their loved ones, impacted by cancer, with an affirming and welcoming community.

Thank you for the contributions you have made – of your time, spirit, and finances. The ripple effect we have collectively created has reached far and wide, and thanks to you, countless young adults have not had to face cancer alone.

We couldn’t be more excited about reaching our twentieth anniversary this fall, and we hope you will pause with us to celebrate, reflect, and recommit. Please save the dates on the below calendar, and join us to go together into the next twenty years.

Cancer changes lives… SO DO YOU!

Sincerely,


Brock Yetso

 


Capital Campaign Update

About four years ago, we started to dream about the next big idea for UCF – a place for young adults to stay, while receiving treatment, that is affordable, community-focused, and most importantly – meets them where they are as young adults. Countless focus groups, donor visits, and pre-construction meetings later, the UCF House is becoming a reality! The renovation is underway and we can’t thank you enough for making this ambitious project happen.

Along the way, we have faced tough challenges but even greater opportunities. The initial plan was to renovate three rowhouses, which, as you know, were in rough shape. We set our capital campaign goal of $3 Million and announced it to the UCF community, and we were off! Several months later, thanks to some good investigative work to locate an out-of-town owner and the generosity of a good friend, we were able to DOUBLE the size of the project to six rowhouses!

Now facing both the challenge of a higher project cost and the opportunity to welcome even more partners in philanthropy, we are thrilled to announce an increase of our capital campaign goal to $4 Million.  Please join us to help spread the word about the UCF House and our other important campaign priorities!


20 Years Strong

As we continue to celebrate our 20th Anniversary stay tuned to our website and social media accounts for upcoming events and post highlighting members of our community.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ulmancancerfund

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ulmancancerfund 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ulmancancerfnd

Snapchat: @ ulmancancerfund

By |August 28th, 2017|News|0 Comments

Are you a GameChanger?

Are you, or is someone you know, a young professional in the Baltimore area who’s doing great things inside and outside of the office? GameChangers are young professionals going above and beyond. They’re successful at work, committed to bettering their communities, and are leaders among their peers. Each fall, a committee reviews applications and nominations to select the most deserving young professionals and recognizes them for their efforts by declaring them GameChangers. GameChangers agree to support UCF’s mission by serving the young adult cancer community and raising funds ($3,000+) to support vital free programs for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. The program begins in October of 2017 when the selected GameChangers begin a curriculum designed to serve the young adult cancer community while engaging in valuable personal and professional development. The curriculum includes meaningful volunteer opportunities, education on the young adult cancer fight, and benefits related to professional growth, networking, and tickets to UCF events. The program culminates with the with formal recognition at UCF’s annual Blue Jeans {& Bowties} Ball in early February, 2018 where the GameChangers will be celebrated for their commitment and accomplishments. After completing the program, GameChangers are invited to join UCF’s Body of Young Adult Advisors (BOYAA) where they will receive a complimentary Ambassador membership for the 2017-2018 year. GameChangers are also encouraged to continue their engagement by nominating and reviewing applicants for the following year.

Applications close Sept 1. Learn more and apply at ulmanfund.org/gamechangers 

Benefits

•A platform to assist young adults and their families who have been impacted by cancer

• Recognition in the Baltimore community as a young professional of note in business and philanthropy

• Networking opportunities with young professionals, Ulman Cancer Fund Board of Directors, and Ulman Cancer Fund partner organizations

• Featured in local and social media such as LinkedIn, newspapers, community websites, and magazines

• Body of Young Adult Advisors Ambassador Membership for 2017- 2018

• Award ceremony at Blue Jeans {& Bowties} Ball with over 800 people in attendance and 2 complimentary tickets

• 1 complimentary ticket to Screw Cancer Brew Hope (Fall, 2017), hosted by BOYAA

• Photo and bio on GameChangers Website

• GameChangers “Badge” and text for inclusion on LinkedIn profile

• Leather UCF folio

• Under Armour UCF backpack

• Under Armour UCF jacket

• GameChangers lapel pin

 

Curriculum Mandatory:

• Attend GameChangers orientation and kickoff happy hour

• Plan and host a Bone Marrow drive with your cohort

• Adopt a family for the UCF gift drive with your cohort

• Prepare and deliver Thanksgiving meals to UCF patients and families

• Attend a hospital tour with a UCF Patient Navigator

• Attend the 2018 Blue Jeans {& Bowties} Ball and Honoree Reception

• Meet $3,000 fundraising minimum

Additional opportunities:

• Host a Lunch & Learn at your company. UCF will visit for 30 minutes to an hour to meet with your colleagues and talk about UCF’s services and ways to get involved

• Attend monthly BOYAA meetings (Third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm at the UCF Headquarters)

• Attend a UCF Board of Directors social

• UCF Board of Directors mentorship

• UCF Board of Directors mentorship opportunity

• Attend Screw Cancer Brew Hope (Fall, 2017)

 

Questions? Contact GameChangers@UlmanFund.org or 410-964-0202 x117

4K Update: Halfway There!

 

Every Mile Matters

It was just about a month ago that our 4K for Cancer teams began cycling and running across the country. We’re excited to keep you updated as our riders and runners approach the halfway point of their journeys!

It is extremely powerful to see the relationships that they have formed in a just a few short weeks together. Together as a team, they have ensured that Every Mile Matters. 

To date, the 4K for Cancer has:

  • Awarded 8 scholarships to young adults impacted by cancer
  • Visited 10 cancer centers to provide support to those in treatment
  • Delivered 140 chemo care bags to patients
  • Covered 15,076 collective miles
  • Raised over $730,093 for the young adult cancer fight!

Follow the teams through an interactive map on their web pages and access all their mail drop locations!

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 http://ulmanfund.org/cycletoinspire.

“Finding Your Cause”- BOYAA member, Geoff Gamble, published in the Daily Record

 

Geoffrey M. Gamble: Finding your cause

I was finishing my first year as an associate at Saul Ewing LLP when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. In an instant, the excitement and self-assurance I had been feeling after finishing law school and starting my career was replaced by a feeling of helplessness that I had never experienced before.

Thankfully, my mother made a full recovery and has been cancer-free for over seven years. But after being so close to her fight, I knew I could not return to my life and just forget about cancer. Her recovery marked the beginning of my own journey into volunteerism.

Over the next few years, I looked for opportunities to get involved in the fight against cancer. I did more than a few walks to raise money for cancer research, but it did not feel like I was doing enough.  Ultimately, it was a colleague and close friend who introduced me to the group that would transform my life in so many ways. For the last five years, I have been a member of the Board of Young Adult Advisors, or BOYAA, a volunteer philanthropy organization run by The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults I have participated in outreach and awareness efforts, as well as fundraising for scholarships to send cancer survivors and caregivers to college. Through my involvement with BOYAA, I have met the most incredible people from varied backgrounds – all drawn together by their shared motivation to support young adults and their loved ones impacted by cancer, and fight for a cure.

The impact BOYAA has had on my life cannot be understated. It has educated me about the unique and significant struggles and issues that young adult cancer patients experience and provided what is often much needed perspective. It has given me the opportunity to work alongside talented and young professionals in Baltimore who regularly challenge me to be better and to give more. It has allowed me to witness – in my fellow BOYAA members and the UCF staff – the inspiring work of people who go the extra mile day to improve the community and the lives of the people in it.  Perhaps most importantly, however, the group enables me to make a tangible impact in the lives of people struggling through the same ordeal as my mother.

Why volunteer?

Many of us get so trapped in our own corporate bubble that we fail to see the many opportunities to enrich our lives and the lives of others outside of the nine-to-five. Volunteering lets you work toward a greater good, while gaining an invaluable perspective on the world beyond your comfort zone. It is also a way to branch out and extend your professional development in an engaging, and often inspiring, way. Volunteering benefits the community, but it also benefits you.

When you take up the mantle of a cause, you expand your personal narrative. Your work should not be your entire life and, with a volunteer position, you can extend your resume by leaps and bounds.  You are not just an architect; you are an architect with an interest in neighborhood revitalization.

Volunteering also extends your network to include a hugely diverse group of motivated individuals. Think about the people who volunteer – they have a strong work ethic, leadership skills and are well connected. These are the people you want to know, and a shared commitment to a common cause is a great way to meet them. Contacts made through volunteering might end up enriching your professional life as well as your personal life.

How to find your cause

Do a quick Google search of a cause you care about and add the word “Baltimore.” You will no doubt get hundreds of results. In fact, there may be so many that it could be hard to narrow them down. When you are browsing, try to limit yourself to those organizations you can see yourself devoting your valuable free time. When you truly click with an organization on a personal level, it becomes easy to follow through.

Once you have narrowed your prospects, take a deeper look at the organization’s leadership. Do you have other interests that align outside of the cause itself? If so, ask one of the organization’s leaders out for coffee – people love talking about what motivates them, and they will be glad you are excited about their cause. If a one-on-one is not for you, then just show up at an event. Bring a friend if it makes you more comfortable. The important thing is to get your foot in the door so that you can judge whether the organization is the right fit for you.

It is an old cliché that those who volunteer often get more out of the experience than those they are there to help. But volunteering is the quintessential win-win. Find your cause and you truly will be enriched by doing so.

Geoffrey M. Gamble is a partner at Saul Ewing LLP in Baltimore. He can be reached at ggamble@saul.com.

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 www.ulmanfund.org/irongirl. 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 (ulmanfund.org) 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.

No One Fights Alone!

If you are a caregiver of a young adult with cancer, you are a critical part of a young adult’s cancer journey. Whether you are a parent, partner or friend of a loved one with cancer, your role in the life of a young adult with cancer cannot be overlooked. In many cases, it is your tireless support that makes it possible that a young adult with cancer receives treatment and is able to manage the emotional highs and lows that a cancer diagnosis inevitably brings with it. Remember that as a caregiver of a young adult with cancer, you are not alone. Be sure to take time to honor and embrace yourself as part of the celebration of Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week!

If you or a loved one impacted by cancer need support, we’re here to help. Please reach out to cmiller@ulmanfund.org.

Fight for Fertility Preservation, Family Building and the Future

When I first began my work serving young adults living with cancer over a decade ago, getting providers to talk to young people about their future fertility, or lack of it, really was a genuine fight! Oncologists focused on saving their patient’s life or preserving it with real quality for as long as possible, were hesitant to delay treatment. Nurses, social workers and case managers, didn’t always know who to contact to help navigate the complex world of fertility preservation.

Today many of the professional organizations that the medical team members belong to endorse a direct and systematic approach to oncofertility. See below:

http://www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/asco-care-and-treatment-recommendations-patients/fertility-preservation

https://cjon.ons.org/cjon/20/1/fertility-preservation-cancer-treatment-options-strategies-and-resources

There are wonderful organizations focused on fertility preservation and family building through education, advocacy and grant funding. See below:

http://www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/fertility-services/

http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/

http://www.fertileaction.org/

https://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/files/documents/cancer-friendly-adoption-agencies

 

Family Building Support

 

Fertility preservation before cancer treatment is about something much greater than freezing sperm and harvesting eggs. What we are offering is hope for survival and for the future. For some patients this hope will not include carrying their own child or having a child that is completely genetically related to them and their partner. For some this hope will come through adoption. For others it will come from a traditional pregnancy. For others, a decision to not become a parent but to focus their energy on nieces and nephews, god children or the students on their classroom, will be the way they realize this hope.

At the Ulman Cancer Fund all of our Patient Navigators are trained to assist young adults through the fertility preservation and family building process. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions, cmiller@ulmanfund.org or 410-964-0202 ext. 106

By Elizabeth Saylor, Young Adult Patient Navigator, University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center