The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults’ Blue Jeans and Bowties Ball celebrates 17-year anniversary and honorees


Community members and organizations to be honored for their contributions to the young adult cancer fight on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

BALTIMORE, Maryland – January 20, 2015 – The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) will celebrate its 17-year anniversary and honor community members and organizations who contribute to and further UCF’s mission to create a community of support for young adults and their loved ones, as they fight cancer and embrace survivorship. The Blue Jeans & Bow Ties Ball will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015, from 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm at M&T Bank Stadium, Club Level South. The evening will include gourmet buffet stations, signature drinks, beer and wine, silent and live auctions, and dancing. The event emcees will be Comcast Sports Network Anchor, Brent Harris, and Ironman Announcer, Jeff Meeks, with entertainment provided by Badmoon.

Honorees include:

Ulman Family Founders’ Award                                   Hope Award

Jamie Roberts (posthumously)                                Children’s National Medical Center
The Shearer Family


Volunteer Service Award                                               Partner Award

Cancer to 5K Coaches                                            Navigator Management Partners
There Goes My Hero

Young Adult “FIGHT” Award

Mike Tirone
Alex Feinberg
Paul Lemle
Patti Jackson
Bo Oliver

“Our Blue Jeans and Bowties Ball continues to make a lasting impact on those who attend. This year, we are excited to honor some amazing individuals and partners in a thrilling new venue, M&T Bank Stadium. We are humbled by the support and dedication to our mission by of each of our. We look forward to showcasing each individual and organization as well as highlighting UCF’s many accomplishments which are making a positive impact in the lives of young adults and their loved ones affected by cancer,” said Brock Yetso, UCF’s President & CEO. “We look forward to sharing a wonderful evening with our supporters and hope to continue to inspire and engage individuals in growing our community of support so we can continue our programs and services for many years to come.” 

About Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults:

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, founded in 1997, is the national leader in providing specialized support for young adults affected by cancer. With nearly 70,000 young adults diagnosed every year, UCF helps young people fight the disease and navigate treatment by providing access to information, support groups, and other specialized programs. UCF Patient Navigation Programs have set a national standard and can be accessed remotely or through onsite Patient Navigators at a growing number of hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic region. UCF changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, as they fight cancer and embrace survivorship. For more information, please visit,

Media Contact Information:
Rachel Wiederhold
UCF Director, Human Resources & Operations
(410) 964-0202 x 107


Maintaining Holiday Cheer

image credit goes to

image credit goes to

by Amy Malczewski, #facingtheissues

What do social media, cancer, and the holiday’s have in common? A lot more than you think!

Social media has become one of the biggest phenomena on the Internet in the past 10 years, and continues to grow not only in people’s personal lives, but also through business and other fields in the workforce. It’s almost impossible to find a company who isn’t on Facebook, or asking for people to tweet at them. So, it should come as no surprise that social media is hugely popular in the adolescent and young adult cancer community.

“I’m so impressed with how positive people are…You can learn from other people’s experiences vicariously”

The exchange of information and stories on social media – which are often empowering to tell as well as hear – teaches patients coping strategies. The anonymity and openness of the online world is perfect for people who need to vent, says Brad Love, an associate professor of communications at the University of Texas in Austin. Blogs have traditionally been a great resource, but more recently different organizations have been thinking out of the box.

Zachary Linscott, a brain cancer survivor, started an organization called ‘Stupid Cancer’, which puts on conferences, boot camps, town halls and meet ups, in addition to connecting people to hundreds of other support networks throughout the country. Linscott calls it the “yellow pages” for young people with cancer.

Kristen Crane (2014) writes: One of the group’s latest endeavors is “Instapeer,” a mobile app that provides people with immediate one-on-one support from peers. This may be one of the most powerful tools yet, Linscott says, since finding a person who is going through exactly what you are forms immediate bonds and can also be informative. Instead of making 50 calls, cancer patients can read someone’s blog, she adds. On Twitter, patients may engage in weekly chats for specific purposes, such as #bcsm (breast cancer social media), #btsm (brain tumor social media) and #ayacsm (adolescent and young adult cancer societal movement), Zachary says. And websites such as, and are modern versions of traditional forum platforms, he adds.

“I’m so impressed with how positive people are,” Love continues. If someone is feeling negative, feedback from other people can help turn that feeling around. “You can learn from other people’s experiences vicariously,” he adds.

Creating this positive energy around the holidays is especially important.

Kellie Bramlet writes: Help those in need. “The best part of the holidays has been engaging in service — that is, the opportunity to give back to others who are less fortunate and in need. Including my children in these service efforts has been very rewarding for them and allows us to come together as a family and celebrate while also giving to others.” –Andrew Davison, lung cancer survivor

Helping those in need doesn’t have to be going out and getting physically involved in your community. It would mean writing a simple blog post when you’re not feeling well, joining a chat online, and just being there for someone else. Helping someone on an emotional level is sometimes a lot more powerful and rewarding. Just simply being there can really turn someone’s day, or even life, around.

Happy Holidays to all- from everyone here at The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults!

Read full articles and stories here

Dealing With Cancer Through the Holidays

photo credit to Daze Of Adventure

photo credit to Daze Of Adventure

By: Amy Malczewski, #facingtheissues

This week on our #FacingTheIssues post, we talked with Julie Lanahan, a breast cancer survivor and Program Specialist involved with Scholarship and Patient Navigation at UCF, about the issues that young adults with cancer could face while helping their kids and other family members find a “new normal” around the holiday season. It’s difficult during the holiday’s to continue on with the same family traditions with more limited financial resources, school events, and balancing your own personal health and relationships, but not impossible!


You should just do what you feel like you can do. If you wake up in the morning and feel good, go.”

When it comes to family traditions, families may not be able to keep up with all of their typical yearly holiday traditions simply because they have less time, money and energy. Depending on visiting regulations at your hospital, Julie suggests that you try to have a special celebration at the hospital, if your support team allows. Ask Santa nicely to come to the hospital for your kids, rather than home, if you’re inpatient, or will be undergoing any treatments that day.

If you’re coping with a cancer diagnosis, you may not be able to attend your child’s holiday school functions as usual. While grandparents or other family members can always fill in, parents not being there could still have an effect on children. Julie suggests having someone attend and tape the function. You can then have your own private viewing party at home and make it really special for your close family, kids, and even friends, if you’re up for it. She also suggests going to a rehearsal of the play, or a practice for the game, if you feel better on one of those days. That way, you won’t be around as many people, and it’s in a less formal setting, while still showing your kids that you’re there to support them.

She explains that you should just do what you feel like you can do. If you wake up in the morning and feel good, go. Explain that you may have to leave early depending on how you start to feel as the day progresses. Be as honest as possible, at whatever age level; allow them to relate to you.

If kids are worried about what you will look like to others, role-play at dinner. Have them be empowered and tell the story to their friends if they ask. Julie had her kids practice during meals what they would say to friends if someone asked, “why doesn’t your mom have hair”. She said it was really helpful, for both sides, because if her son said he would beat the kid up, she could coach him through a better way of handling the situation.

Limited Financial Resources

Mounting medical bills, reduced income or changes in work schedule could lead to fewer holiday celebrations or gifts, which kids may eventually notice. Again, be open tell them to be realistic with their wish lists.

Focus on the magic of Christmas and just being together, rather than gifts and the stresses of getting to every holiday party.

“They are still mounting”, says Julie, with a slight giggle. She advises that the first Christmas will be a little tight. She shares that her and her husband agreed to not give each other anything that year, to save some money, and says that it did help. Focus on kids and the magic of Christmas and just being together, rather than gifts and the stresses of getting to every holiday party. Look into different organizations, such as The Ulman Cancer Fund. Speak with your navigator or social worker or even groups at church. Most importantly: Don’t be afraid to look and ask for help.

Simplify. A good way to cross off one stress on your list is to have kids write thank you notes rather than Christmas cards. Julie says with all the help she had, she wanted to thank people for all they had done. It was a nice gesture to have Christmas cards printed and her kids write things like “thank you for helping my mom ________”, and how much that had helped their family. If your kids aren’t old enough, have friends address them for you, and then all you have to do is send them out. If you do have kids old enough, start a new tradition and have them address the cards and younger kids can even stamp the envelopes!

Travel Plans

Because of your cancer treatment schedule or health situation, long-distance travel to visit family may not be possible.

For more on traveling with cancer during the holiday’s… see last weeks #facingtheissues post.

Facebook friend Shannon Gallivan Bol adds: “If you travel outside of the country make sure one of your phones is activated for international calls. When staying at a resort, split meds so you have at least one days meds that would always be available if something weird happens AND we always keep all meds in the safe in your room.”

The Glass and Plastic Balls


“At the time school was my life. I was a stay at home mom, and class mom, so it was really stressful. When I was first diagnosed I talked to a survivor about not being able to be super mom. She told me this story about the glass and the plastic balls…”

Imagine you are just living your normal day-to-day life. You are juggling a million things at once. Taking this kid to soccer, taking another to dance, taking another to piano, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, paying bills, etc. You get the idea. Life can get so hectic at times, but you’re always juggling these things. These are all things in your life in plastic balls. Then, you’re diagnosed with cancer. All of a sudden, these things are not what are running through your mind at all. The day-to-day activities you once thought of as ‘normal’ are no longer normal. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed every morning. Suddenly you find yourself juggling your health, your relationship with your partner, and getting through that next treatment. Imagine that these are the ‘balls’ you are juggling and they are made of glass. With a cancer diagnosis, you need to remember that your only job is to focus on the things in the glass balls. If you drop one of the plastic ones, what happens? They will bounce around a little, then settle on the floor, and stay there until you are able to pick them back up. If something is not in a glass ball, it is not a pivotal piece of me being on this earth, and you can afford to let it go for just a while. Don’t drop your glass balls.

Julie says that she wishes she had heard this earlier in her life. It taught her to live in the moment, and appreciate the little things.


Traveling For The Holidays


by Amy Malczewski, #facingtheissues

When someone mentions the holidays, people start thinking about what they’re most thankful for, which crazy aunt’s house they will be cramming into that year for dinner, and various different travel plans. The holidays are all about being with family, whether near or far. What most people don’t think about, or don’t want to think about, is how they are going to take the baggage of cancer along with them. Traveling with cancer or with a loved on who has cancer can be a stressful, difficult, and even dangerous task if not done properly. Here are a few ways to get over that stress, and enjoy the holidays how they are meant to be!

Number 1 – Always consult with your medical team before taking off.

It is important to include family members and other travel companions in these discussions so they can ask questions, understand your potential needs, and feel comfortable about traveling with you. Take the phone numbers of your health care providers in case you have to reach them while on your trip, and make sure you have a complete list of all medications you are taking, including the dosages, schedules, and the generic names (since these may be marketed under different trade names in other countries).

Get documentation.Have your doctor write a letter on official stationery explaining your condition, treatment regimen, and medications, and always keep it with you. This will also help to explain to security at the airport why you have medications in your bag. It will be clearer to them, fewer questions for you to answer, and allow everything to run more smoothly.

Traveling with cancer or with a loved on who has cancer can be a stressful, difficult, and even dangerous task if not done properly.

Number 2 – Once you’re cleared to travel, be sure to pack all of your prescription medications in your carry-on instead of a checked bag. You can never be quite sure where your luggage will end up!

Number 3 – Remember, long flights pose a risk of blood clots for everyone. Certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, and bowel cancer, and some treatments, such as hormonal therapy for breast cancer, may increase that risk.

Wear loose clothing, walk around the cabin periodically, and do light leg exercises to stimulate blood circulation. Stay hydrated by drinking water and avoiding alcohol. If you have anemia, ask your doctor if you will need additional oxygen to help you adjust to the cabin air pressure. Some doctors may not clear you to fly in this case, too, so again, be sure to talk with your medical team before traveling.

Some General Tips!

  1. Remember to always try to keep a positive attitude.
  2. As with anything in life, traveling can be a stressful time for you, loved ones, and all of the people around you, with or without cancer.
  3. Try to be patient as to not stress yourselves out more.
  4. If people stare or glare at you for taking too long, try to just smile back and wish them well.
  5. Arrive to the airport even earlier than you need to.
  6. Give your loved one the window seat.
  7. This could make them feel more secure and away from germs, and protected from people with large bags that could bump into them.
  8. Carry hand sanitizer with you, again, as well as your medications.
  9. And most importantly, have a happy holiday, and enjoy your family and friends.


Additional Resources and sources used for this post

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

Some Helpful Cold Weather Tips for Those Living with Cancer


Warm winter clothing – CHECK, flu shots – CHECK, hydrated – CHECK, hand sanitizer – CHECK. Erica J. and Nicole M. our Support Through Sport Program Coordinators are ready for winter!

#facingtheissues, Krissy Kraczkowsky, Sr. Program Director, Patient Navigation & Mission Engagement

Just this past Tuesday, the National Weather Services reported that temperatures in all 50 U.S. (including Hawaii!) dipped to or below freezing. Much to the chagrin of many, it’s definitely time to break out the winter coat (and hat…and scarf…and winter boots…and gloves).

For people living with cancer and in active treatment, bundling up and staying healthy when the temperatures drop is a must. According to American Society of Clinical Oncology, living with cancer elevates the risk for temperature-related illnesses (frostbite and hypothermia). In addition, late fall and winter are peak times for some unwelcome viral visitors, mainly the common cold and flu.

It’s definitely time to break out the winter coat (and hat…and scarf…and winter boots…and gloves)

It’s particularly important that as we approach late fall and into the winter, that people living with cancer take appropriate precautions to protect themselves. Below are some helpful cold weather tips for people living with cancer:

  • Stay Toasty, My Friends – When the temps drop, opt to stay inside as much as possible. If you’re getting some serious cabin fever, make sure you bundle up in layers before venturing out into the cold weather. Some cancers or cancer treatment regimens or medications can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. Hypothermia can pop up when the body does not generate enough heat to keep itself nice and warm. In addition, it’s important for those living with cancer to keep skin covered (especially those fingers, toes, nose, and ears) when temps go south. Some people living with cancer who experience nerve issues (like peripheral neuropathy) have an even higher risk of frostbite due to greater risk because this side effect causes them to be less sensitive to temperature extremes.


  • (Flu) Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots! – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that cancer patients undergoing treatment and cancer survivors receive a flu shot (made up of an inactivated flu virus). Talk to your doctor or nurse about getting a flu shot and the risks/benefits associated with them. People living with cancer are immunosuppressed and per the CDC, should not receive the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine since it’s made up of live flu viruses.


  • Bottoms Up – Drinking water when it’s 100 degrees out is a no-brainer. But what many people don’t know is that hydration is still important when the temperatures dip. Drink lots of fluids in the winter. Dehydration is a common side effect of many cancer treatments. Not being adequately hydrated, combined with having low body fat, can elevate the risk of hypothermia in cold temperatures.


  • Bring On the Hand Sanitizer – As much as we wish it didn’t, the small-but-mighty common cold and flu virus runs rampant in late fall and winter. Keeping up with good hygiene practices is critical. Hands should be washed or sanitized frequently throughout the day – after going to the bathroom, after high fiving a friend, before you eat, etc.
    • Hand Washing 101: Use soap and warm water and scrub your hands for 15 to 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet song). Rinse them well and dry them with a paper towel.
    • Hand Sanitizer 101: If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers should contain 60% alcohol to squash those germs.

Good hygiene is particularly important for those young moms and dads living with cancer who have school-aged children. Teaching your kids to practice their hand washing skills and proper sneezing tactics (into upper arm vs. hands) and regular cleaning of common spaces (kitchens, bathrooms, door knobs) with appropriate products may help contain germs.

By |November 21st, 2014|Inspiration, News|0 Comments

Mission to Vine 2014 – Press Release


Baltimore, MD Cancer Charity’s West Coast Run to Leave San Diego on October 20, 2014 Arriving in Sonoma on October 25

Team of 24 (including 6 cancer survivors) from all across the country seeking to raise over $100,000 to help young adults affected by cancer through The Ulman Cancer Fund’s Inaugural Mission to Vine Run

BALTIMORE, Maryland – October 14, 2014 – On Sunday, October 20th, 24 runners and support staff from all across the country will meet in San Diego’s Mission Beach and set off on a 700-mile journey to Sonoma, CA. The run, Mission to Vine (M2V), has a collective goal to raise awareness and funds to help young adults affected by cancer. Included in this group of 18 runners and 6 support staff are 6 cancer survivors, but all the participants have had cancer impact their lives either through their own diagnosis or that of a loved one, and all have a true passion for making an impact in the lives of others who have had to deal with this terrible disease.

“This is more than just a run,” says Brock Yetso, Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) CEO. “We are making a statement about young adult cancer. With nearly 70,000 young adults being diagnosed with cancer every year, we want everyone to know that cancer impacts far too many people. Some on the run know what it’s like to face cancer first-hand and the rest of us know what it’s like to help a loved one fight. UCF was established so that no young adult has to face cancer alone and we want to spread that message of hope to all.”

From San Diego, the run will travel through Irvine (Oct. 20-21), Los Angeles (Oct. 21), Ventura (Oct. 21-22), Paso Robles (Oct. 22-23), Monterey (Oct. 23-24), San Francisco (Oct. 24-25), and arrive in Sonoma on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Along the route the M2V group plans to visit and distribute Chemo Care Bags at two cancer centers: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. These visits provide the group opportunities to interact in meaningful ways with people affected by cancer along their route. The group will have help assembling the Chemo Care Bags when they visit Spectrum Pharmaceuticals in Irvine, CA. The group will also award a college scholarship to a young adult affected by cancer in the San Francisco Bay area.

The money being raised by the M2V ride will help fund UCF’s Young Adult Patient Navigation program and other survivorship programs, including Cancer to 5K. Cancer to 5K founder, Holly Shoemaker, a melanoma survivor, is part of the M2V team, as is Christina Miller, a breast cancer survivor and mother of three who credits Cancer to 5K with changing her life and shares “I am so excited to be a part of the Mission to Vine team. Although the challenge is daunting, nothing can compare to the challenges my family and I have already faced. I CAN DO THIS!”

Doug Ulman, three-time cancer survivor and UCF Founder, will also join the M2V team for their arrival in Sonoma. “Mission to Vine is yet another example of the power of the human spirit – individuals tackling a challenge so great in the name of a mission so much bigger than any of us. I am honored to be a part of this incredible experience.” Follow Doug’s M2V journey on Twitter at

Over $65,000 has been raised towards a goal of $100,000. Donations are continuing to be accepted at:

Follow the journey and join the conversation by using #M2V2014, following @ulmancancerfnd on Twitter, and liking on Facebook.

About Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults:

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF), founded in 1997, is the national leader in providing specialized support for young adults affected by cancer. With nearly 70,000 young adults diagnosed every year, our organization helps young people fight the disease and navigate treatment by providing access to information, support groups, and other specialized programs. UCF Patient Navigation Programs have set a national standard and can be accessed remotely or through onsite Patient Navigators at a growing number of hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic region. UCF changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, as they fight cancer and embrace survivorship. For more information, please visit,

Media Contact Information:

Shara Boonshaft
UCF Director of Development
Office: (410) 964-0202 x112
Mobile: (443) 413-4337

#facingtheissues Chemo Side Effect Checklist

“Despite 12 hours of sleep, I felt like I’d just eaten a giant plate of week-old sushi covered in mayonnaise left out in the sun, then ran an IronMan and gotten hit by an 18-wheeler right before I crossed the finish line. Chemotherapy makes getting out of bed seem like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.”
– Michelle Lamont
The above is from an article written by 25 year old breast cancer survivor, Michelle Lamont. Lamont checks off her chemotherapy side effects with an honest, funny and touching depiction of how her body reacted when she was undergoing treatment.  The full piece can be read here.
In response to Lamont’s article, Christa, 25, a young adult in active treatment for cancer, writes:
“I love it! Her experience is so relatable. She is my age, she’s in school, and she’s trying to do normal things for people our age, like go to a wedding. I had to turn down being in a wedding this year because of everything going on with treatment.
All of these topics are on point. The fatigue section is perfect. As for taste alteration, I drink coconut water by the gallon. I used to drink the kind that had little bits of coconut in there but now, I can only drink the pure coconut water. I love spicy things more than ever, and I don’t really eat dairy anymore.  I don’t exactly feel like a Disney villain—more like a cartoon character. Like an egghead.She didn’t write about her port, and I think that is a really important part of chemo. Port accesses are the worst, along with staying in the hospital. Also, sometimes I’m pretty out of it. The best part of chemo, if there is one, is that I’m in a pediatric hospital. People are so nice, so kind, and they make me feel like a normal person.Overall, I think she hit the nail on the head. She’s hilarious and did a great job with this article.”

So what do you think? What side effects would you add to the list? Did you find any unique ways to cope with some of these side effects?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on social media. @ulmancancerfnd #facingtheissues
Cancer Changes Lives…So Do We!
By |September 26th, 2014|Inspiration|0 Comments

Extra! Extra! Press Release for Woodstoc Roc

Brian Kahat, founder of Woodstoc Roc

Brain Kahat, founder of Woodstoc Roc (photo from the Baltimore Sun website)

The 3rd Annual Woodstoc Roc will benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

West Friendship, Maryland – September 16, 2014 – Woodstoc Roc and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) are pleased to partner for the Woodstoc Roc benefit concert Saturday and Sunday, September 20 -21, 2014. The event is from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at the Howard County Fair Grounds. Tickets are $20 for One Day or $35 for a Weekend Pass.

 Ticket information can be found at

“Woodstoc Roc is pleased to partner with the UCF as their mission of supporting individuals affected by cancer through health and wellness programs aligns with the purpose of our event to Roc out Cancer. Celebrating 3 years since inception, we are excited to host an experience that is fun for everyone. From exceptional regional and tribute bands to talented High School bands this event is perfect for seasoned concert goers to the casual listener”, said Brian Kahat, Woodstoc Roc Founder. “Whether you stay for a few bands or for both days, you will enjoy an energetic atmosphere, great music, food, and children’s activities including a moon bounce. We hope to attract over 6,000 attendees this year. Thanks to Taste of Maryland, Antwerpen Toyota, Morris Manning and Martin LLP, and Associated Builders & Contractors of the Chesapeake for their generous support of this event.”

“The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is honored to once again partner with Woodstoc Roc”, says Brock Yetso, UCF’s President and CEO. “UCF raises awareness by creating opportunities and platforms for people and communities to get active in the fight against cancer and this continues to be a perfect opportunity for Howard County and surrounding communities to come together in support of two great causes.”

About Woodstoc Roc

Brian Kahat was 6 years old in 1969 when the Woodstock Music Festival brought together half a million people to celebrate peace, love, and rock ‘n’ roll. Today, Kahat, as a stage 3 cancer survivor, is celebrating not only peace and love, but life and hope, for those affected by cancer. Soon after his recovery, Kahat founded Woodstoc Roc, a local benefit to “Roc out Cancer.” Having realized his own childhood dream of playing in a band, Brian knew that rock ‘n’ roll would be his way to help the cause.

Brian credits the recovery of his health to the support of his family and friends, but his conception of Woodstoc Roc is what helped Brian recover his purpose in life. Through his foundation, Brian hopes to bring families and friends together to relax, celebrate, and enjoy great music, all in the spirit of helping in the fight against cancer.

About Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF), founded in 1997, is the national leader in providing specialized support for young adults affected by cancer. With nearly 70,000 young adults diagnosed every year, our organization helps young people fight the disease and navigate treatment by providing access to information, support groups, and other specialized programs. UCF Patient Navigation Programs have set a national standard and can be accessed remotely or through onsite Patient Navigators at a growing number of hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic region. UCF changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, as they fight cancer and embrace survivorship. For more information, please visit,

Media Contact Information

Brian Kahat – Founder, Woodstoc Roc – 443.474.7372


Kari Ebeling – UCF Director of Special Events – 410.964.0202 x 116

By |September 16th, 2014|Press Release|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

#FacingTheIssues: Health Insurance & A Few Things I Learned Along The Way












During the course of my treatment for breast cancer four years ago, I ran into several health-insurance related stumbling blocks. While I was stubborn and pig-headed and questioned and fought every last cent of every denial, I know that many people going through cancer treatments don’t. Perhaps they don’t have knowledge about their rights, or perhaps they don’t have the time or energy to deal with this on top of managing cancer, treatments and every-day life. Achieving my small victories brought me satisfaction, but it also ignited a sense of outrage in me, as I think about others who don’t know that battles with health insurance companies can sometimes be won. Which brings me here today, sharing a few of the lessons I learned.

It never hurts to ask.

I was told by my oncologist that my health insurance would not cover the extra anti-nausea medication I wanted because my chemo combination was not toxic enough. After I insisted and pleaded, my doctor went ahead and made the request to my health insurance company. I was relieved, if a little surprised, when my health insurance ended up covering the medication, even though it was not part of the normal protocol.

The bill isn’t always correct.

Going through my mail was not a high priority but my attention was finally caught by several notices in big red letters from LabCorp threatening to send my debt to a collection agency. Rather than just pay the offending charge, I called LabCorp to inquire about it. I was told that my health insurance company had denied payment. I called the health insurance company and was told (after waiting the requisite amount of time on hold) that LabCorp was not supposed to be billing me for what was, essentially, paperwork. I called LabCorp back and this time was told, oh yes, we shouldn’t have billed you for that. (Side note – it’s really important to try to deal with these problems before they are sent to collections; that becomes a whole new mess.)

Denials can be overturned even when it seems hopeless.

While going through treatment, I saw a social worker to help with the anxiety of it all. After I finally got around to submitting the claims (out of network), they were denied because, unbeknownst to me, prior authorization was required. I imagine that most people told that their claim was rejected because they failed to obtain prior authorization would give up. Not me. This one took A LOT of time and effort to fix, but eventually I did by appealing and eventually submitting forms that enabled the health insurance company to grant “prior authorization” months after the fact.

Hospitals and doctors may offer negotiated rates.

I was surprised to receive a bill from the hospital for physical therapy charges; after all, the hospital was in my network. I learned from my health insurance company that I had exceeded my annual limit for physical therapy coverage. Still not content, I called the hospital, mostly to express annoyance over how high the bill was. To my surprise, I was asked whether I wanted “the negotiated rate.” I replied, why, yes, I would like the negotiated rate. At which point, my bill was lowered by several hundred dollars. The “negotiated rate” is the lower discounted rate that providers agree to provide health insurance companies, and these can be magic words to use at the appropriate time.

It’s ok to ask for help.

It’s enough to be told that you have cancer; that you need surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation; and that you need to make critical decisions about treatment plans in an alarmingly tight timeframe. The last thing one needs on top of all that is an added layer of stress over whether or not these daunting medical expenses will be covered by health insurance. One thing I did not do, but urge others to do, is to ask for help, whether from a friend or family member who’s asked “is there something I can do,” or from a patient navigator. One concrete task they can do is be a repository for your bills and health insurance statements, and carefully review them so they can help you advocate for yourself if a problem is detected.


Phyllis Kimmel is a lawyer in private practice and has conducted workshops on health insurance rights at a local hospital and for a national breast cancer organization. She is also an alumnus of and volunteer for the Cancer to 5K program. To learn more about Cancer to 5K go to