Jamie Blondina is a graduate of Rowan University. In the summer of 2018, she will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 49-day, 4000+ mile run from San Francisco to Boston, raising money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
When I was a little girl, around seven years old my great grand grandmother passed away from esophageal cancer. She was the sweetest person you'd ever meet. I remember having a bunch of antique bottles lined along the kitchen and we'd always sing "99 bottles of beer on the wall"; she'd get upset that we were saying the word beer and would always encourage us to say "pop," but we never listened. About a year later my Pop-Pop (my Mom's Dad) was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away at a young age of 60. He was a hard working man at the sand plant and would always leave his soda class on the headboard of his bed after work because he knew I'd always bring it to the sink for him. He was also a huge fan of circus peanuts and spearmint leaves and whenever I see them in the grocery store I get a huge smile on my face because I know he's looking down on me. Fast forward to my Freshman year of High School and my Uncle Rich was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, less than three months later he passed away at the very young age of 44. He and I were really close. He was my tickle monster when I needed a good laugh and my voice of reason when I needed a good sports pep talk. I swear while I'm coaching sometimes I can still hear him yelling from the stands. When I was a Freshman in college I met a friend (who became my roommate for the next three years), her mom had been battling lung cancer for sometime. Her mom's cancer took a turn for the worst while we were away at school and she passed away. Since this was something I had gone through numerous times, I became the shoulder for my friend to lean on....at times, we leaned on each other (that's what friends are for). After I graduated from Rowan we found out my Nana (my Dad's mother) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Luckily she had surgery to remove it and she is currently cancer free! In 2016, we found out my Aunt Barb was diagnosed with skin cancer. Fortunately enough they were able to remove the spot and she is currently cancer free! The end of 2017 was a real drag for my family. We found out my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and my Aunt Tracy (my Dad's sister) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The good news is my Dad had surgery Dec. 18th to have his prostate removed and is currently cancer free! We are waiting for my Aunt to receive her surgery sometime this January.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
I feel that cancer has impacted my life both in negative and positive ways, but I choose to focus on the positive ones. I am blessed to have known those who passed and even more blessed to still have the loves near and dear to me who kicked cancers butt! I think in years past I have taken my health for granted. I took waking up in the morning every day healthy, being able to eat the things I want, hang out with friends and family when I want, all of the simple things in life I took for granted. Now with the huge wake up call of my dad having prostate cancer and needing surgery I see things slightly differently. My dad is a super active guy. At 57 years old he still plays competitive soccer and goes for runs numerous nights throughout the week. Now after his surgery he is unable to lift anything over 10lbs for almost a month now (he is starting to go stir crazy, itching to do anything....even laundry at this point!) I want to be a runner in the 4K for all those people who currently cannot. For those active young adults who are bed ridden, or too tired from chemo and radiation to do anything but rest. I want to be a runner so that I can represent my town and community and the district in which I teach. I want to show my students that you can do anything you set your mind to and how great it feels to raise money and give back to those in need.I want to touch the lives of the families we meet along the way, hear their stories and share mine. In such a big world, I find this as a personal opportunity to make a difference in a place where almost everyone has been touched in some way by cancer.
2018 marks the 17th year of the 4K for Cancer sending young adults on journeys across the country in an effort to inspire hope and unite communities in the fight against cancer. The 4K for Cancer is a program of The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF). Interested in joining the fight? Apply to be a rider or runner a at www.4kforcancer.org!
Over 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year. Young adults (ages 15-39) face a variety of unique challenges with a cancer diagnosis including fertility preservation, social isolation, lack of insurance, delayed diagnosis, and more.
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. With your support, the Ulman Cancer Fund is able to provide free support services and resources for the young adult cancer community including:
Cancer to 5K - a 12-week training program designed to introduce or reintroduce cancer survivors to physical activity.
Patient Navigation - a free program (onsite at cancer centers and remotely through our office) that ensures no young adult ever faces cancer alone. We provide one-on-one support & resources to young adults and their families to help them manage the cancer experience and long-term cancer survival.
Scholarships - a financial assistance program to help young adults continue their education after being affected by cancer through their own diagnosis or the diagnosis of a loved one.
UCF House - This year UCF broke ground on a “home away from home” to provide free housing for young adult cancer patients, and their caregivers, in East Baltimore.
Your donation will help make these programs and our mission possible!
|Adrienne, Jessica, Danielle Marler||02/17/2018||$25.00||We are so inspired by your story & wish you the best running across the country! You will do awesome!||Pam Budrow||02/08/2018||$25.00||So awesome you're doing this. Way to go girl! Cancer took both my Mom & Aunt and we currently have a friend battling brain cancer. Safe travels - your Uncle Rich will be with you every step of the way. Love ya! Pam & Preston||Erica Farinaro||02/07/2018||$25.00||You go girl!||Kim Peto||02/07/2018||$50.00||This is awesome!!! Way to go, Jaime!!! ❤️||Kevin Cohen||01/26/2018||$50.00||Best of luck on this journey coach. We will be thinking of you throughout the summer!||Toms River East Girls Basketball||01/26/2018||$50.00||Good luck coach. You are a great role model to the girls in our program!||Lindsay Barrie||01/22/2018||$100.00||Good luck on your adventure LJ, you are going to crush it! love you - The Barrie Family||Marie Walling||01/20/2018||$20.00||Wishing you the best of luck. Cancer affects so many.here is praying we find the answers for a cancer-free future.||Laurie Massimino||01/19/2018||$20.00||<3 Good Luck||Drew Anders||01/18/2018||$50.00||Your story is emotional, but we love how you focus on the positive aspects of the challenges life can throw our way. Your actions will be meaningful both personally and for others. Best wishes during this journey...keep being the great person you are, sounds like you have a lot to be proud of!||Lisa McGowan||01/17/2018||$100.00||You are an inspiration! Love you Jamie!!||Solsiree McGowan||01/17/2018||$100.00||This is a beautiful cause. We keep praying every day fir this horrible disease to stop taking our love ones. ❤||Ken Drazin||01/17/2018||$50.00||Good luck!||Kiko and Jemand Ezeonwuka||01/17/2018||$200.00||What a wonderful cause. Good luck Jamie!||Resa & Tom Murawski||01/16/2018||$50.00||Jamie, you are such a beautiful soul to be doing this! We are so proud of you and think this is absolutely amazing! We can’t wait to follow your journey this summer and cheer you on from NJ! God Bless you and your family as you will remain in our thoughts and prayers for health and happiness! F@%! Cancer!! Show it who’s boss!!!!! ❤️||Tom & Lisa Nasce||01/16/2018||$100.00||Ashley Greenberg||01/16/2018||$50.00||What an amazing and inspiring journey! Best of luck. Ashley & Chase||Jamie Blondina||01/12/2018||$100.00|