History & Founder

At age 19, Doug Ulman was preparing for his sophomore year at Brown University. He was a healthy, active college student, a Division I soccer player, a young man with friends and a family… and his whole life ahead of him.


 What a shock! A young adult — living life — planning — the future — looking forward to new experiences — and then everything stops… CANCER! It is almost too much to take. This absolutely can’t be! It must be a mistake. But it starts to sink in… I have CANCER.What does it all mean?

During a routine jog one day, Doug began having problems breathing. After an ER visit, a consultation with a family physician, and a CT scan, Doug had surgery to remove a tumor from a rib in his back.

The tumor was determined to be malignant after several pathology tests and Doug was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma. Within a year of his first cancer diagnosis, Doug was diagnosed with malignant melanoma twice.

Cancer changed the course of Doug’s life…

When he returned to school following his diagnosis in the fall of 1996, Doug faced a number of unanticipated hurdles. He struggled to find information and support programs that addressed the myriad of issues he was dealing with: questions of nutrition, physical activity, relationships and dating, the emotional upheaval of facing his own mortality, and a return to his studies, among other concerns.

Frustrated by the lack of resources to speak to and support the unique needs of young adults affected by cancer, Doug and his family created The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

UCF began as a program of The Wellness Community, under the name The Ulman Fund of the Wellness Community-Baltimore: Supporting Young Adults Affected by Cancer. This collaboration enabled the Ulman family to immediately start creating and administrating support programs and raising funds to maintain them.

At the same time they began the process to obtain their own 501c3 designation, and The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults was founded as an independent organization in 1997.

Doug served as executive director of The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults until 2001. He joined the Lance Armstrong Foundation that same year as director of survivorship and was named the Foundation’s president and chief executive officer in January 2007. Doug is a founder of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance among many other board and advisory roles.

With an unwavering mission to enhance lives by supporting, education, and connecting young adults, their families, and friends who are affected by cancer, The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults has accomplished a great deal in the way of providing crucial support to thousands of young adults with cancer — through education, scholarship programs, a network of human and health care resources, and fundraising for program and support services provided free of charge.

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults’ foundation of community, collaboration, and advocating for change on behalf of young adults has remained the cornerstone of the organization and is evident throughout its strategic plans for the future.