Mason Atkins is a graduate of Auburn University. He is now pusuing a second bachelor's degree and plans to attend graduate school at the University of Mississippi. In the summer of 2019, he 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 Foundation.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
My connection with the cancer community is both personal and professional. Cancer has been a large factor in my life from an early age, affecting family and friends in various degrees without reservation or discrimination. My paternal grandfather lost his battle with colorectal cancer the day after my 4th birthday, and over the course of the next few years, I lost two of my uncles to pancreatic cancer and lung cancer, respectively. When I was in middle school and high school, two of my childhood best friends had scares with cancer. Going into my senior year at Auburn University, I lost my great uncle, who had stepped into my grandfather’s role in our family after he’d passed away and was one of my closest relationships in my family, to stage IV prostate cancer, and his death catalyzed a shift within me to get more heavily involved in the cancer community. In high school, I participated in fundraising and volunteering with St. Jude’s Children Hospital and local nursing home patients, but following my great uncle’s death, I have gotten more involved in supporting Children’s Hospital at Midtown Medical Center at Columbus Regional Health through Auburn University’s Dance Marathon and Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital through the University of Mississippi’s RebelTHON, as well as looking into local volunteer options through the American Cancer Society.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Foundation?
This is an opportunity of a lifetime that will serve as a life-changing experience, interpersonally and intrapersonally. I look forward to hearing the stories of others, learning who they are and their connection(s) to the cancer community, and fostering relationships as we pursue a shared goal. I also look forward to seeing how this process drives me to grow as an individual. I often find myself in a series of rabbit holes when looking to make sense of nonsensical situations, but through growing closer with members of this community and serving folks across this country, I truly believe that a great sense of closure, peace, and understanding can finally be found regarding what I have had to witness friends and family experience as a result of their respective trials with cancer.
I am on this 4,000-mile journey for those who are currently fighting, those who have lost their battles, and those who have won their battles. I run for the pain and suffering felt by those who have been afflicted by this disease, for final goodbyes that had to be shared too soon.
2019 marks the 18th 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 Foundation (Ulman). Interested in joining the fight? Apply to be a rider or runner a at www.4kforcancer.org!
Over 72,000 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.
Ulman Foundation changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. With your support, Ulman 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.
Ulman House - This year Ulman will open 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!
|Jonathan Cuff||11/27/2018||$10.00||Mason Atkins||11/06/2018||$100.00|