- Last Updated on 12:25 PM 05/29/13
- BY Special to the Gazette
On Wednesday, June 5, a team of 27 cyclists will make their way through Halifax County and South Boston on a 70-day, 4,000 mile journey to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
Leaving the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md., on June 2, the riders will head south through Virginia before striking west through the southern states and winding their way across the country before finishing in San Diego, Calif., on Aug. 10.
Known as the 4K For Cancer, the ride is a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults dedicated to empowering young adults in uniting communities across the country in the fight against cancer through community service and support. 2013 marks the 12th year of cycling across America in the fight against cancer and the first year the trip has gone from Baltimore to San Diego.
As they pass through Halifax County, the team will be hosted by Main Street United Methodist Church located at 701 N. Main Street in South Boston. The YMCA has agreed to make their facilities available for the students to take showers after their long day of riding. The Main Street congregation will provide dinner and breakfast to the team and allow them to sleep in the church fellowship hall before departing at 6:30 the next morning.
On Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. the community is invited to a special program in the church sanctuary. Members of the 4K team will share their personal stories about their journey and goals. Music will be provided by Mark and Linda Satterfield. A love offering will be received and divided between the 4K team and the Halifax County Cancer Association.
The 4K For Cancer team is made up of 27 college students from across the United States. Each year 4K participants identify various service opportunities along their route. In the past, service opportunities have included visiting cancer patients, taking part in community dinners and giving cancer awareness presentations.
4K for Cancer began as the Hopkins 4K for Cancer in 2001 when a group of undergraduate students at the Johns Hopkins University decided to combine their desire to fight against cancer with their dream of cycling across the country.
Founded by Ryan Hanley in the memory of his father who passed away from cancer, the 4K set off on the first 4,000-mile journeys from Baltimore to San Francisco in the summer of 2002.
After seven successful years riding under the Johns Hopkins umbrella and three years as a stand alone non-profit, the 4K became a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
The first and only young adult cancer support organization of its kind, the Ulman Cancer Fund offers a network of support services that addresses the unique needs of this population and empowers people to be a voice for this underserved population.
The 4K for Cancer was named “Special Event of the Year” by The American Cancer Society and was presented with the first ever Pioneer Award, an honor specially created for “innovative, creative, and trailblazing efforts in the fight against cancer.”
Additionally, the 4K received the “Outstanding Youths in Philanthropy Award” from the Association of Fundraising Professionals as well as the Excalibur Award from the ACS for exceptional dedication to the fight against cancer.
Each year, more than 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Since 1997, the Ulman Cancer Fund has been working to provide young adults and their families with a unique and comprehensive system of support.
At age 19, Doug Ulman was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. Following surgery in 1996, he was unable to find information, resources or support programs that would speak to the unique needs of young adults affected by cancer. He and his family founded UCF as a way of raising funds, forming support groups and collecting literature that would assist young adult cancer survivors and their loved ones.
Not long after the UCF was founded, Ulman received two melanoma diagnoses. His survivorship continued to provide motivation for the UCF to serve as a voice for this young adult population. It was realized that there were many other young adults experiencing the same challenges as Ulman–relationship changes, difficulty navigating the healthcare system and struggling to communicate with their healthcare team–and that the UCF was in a position to help.
Over the years, the UCF has expanded its reach to provide young adults and their families with a unique and comprehensive system of support. The UCF growth has resulted in many programs and services available across the United States including a nationally distributed booklet, “NO WAY, It Can’t Be” – a guidebook for young adults facing cancer, a nationally recognized scholarship program and multiple fundraising initiatives to support these programmatic efforts.
Anyone wishing to donate to the 4K For Cancer Team may send a check payable to Main Street United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 119, South Boston, VA 24592, or bring it by the church office at 701 N. Main Street.
Additional information about the 4K For Cancer and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults can be found at www.ulmanfund.org.
Donations also may be made to the Halifax County Cancer Association, P.O. Box 1891, Halifax, VA 24558.