Connor Botes is a senior at Harding University. In the summer of 2018, he will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 70-day, 4000+ mile ride from Baltimore, MD to Seattle, WA, raising money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
My connection to the cancer community began at a young age. When I was 7 years old, Gramps, my grandpa, developed a brain tumor. It was Christmas day when my family found out. We packed our bags and headed down to SC to spend Christmas with Gramps in the hospital. When I was 9, I attended Gramps’ funeral. We knew his time was coming so before his passing our family gathered in the living room of my grandma’s house to watch a video celebrating his life. Gramps, in his wheel chair, with little understanding of what was going on, was with his family to celebrate his life. As I reflect on this moment, it was a beautiful moment. I wish I could have better understood it then as I do now.
I often think of Gramps. Though I wasn’t very close to him before his passing, I often wonder what a conversation would be like if he was still around. I am majoring in mechanical engineering and I love adventurous activities, especially skiing. Gramps worked as a mechanical engineer and spent some time in Switzerland as a ski patroller. I feel like if he was still around he would push me to live a full life, one that is not bared by regrets of the past or crippled by fears of the future.
My connection to the cancer community continues with Nita, the wife of a good mentor of mine, who lost her fight to cancer. It broke my heart to see my mentor grapple with the grief, but the strength he displays as he tells of her goodness encourages me to push through the hardships I experience, and live inspired by the story of her life.
The effects of this disease wieghs on the hearts of many who I consider dear in my life. For that reason, to justly express all the reprocussions of this struggle on my life would take a book in itself, however there is hope I have found through my connection to this community. I have a tendency to fix my eyes on the upcoming horizon: retrospective thoughts of Gramps, Nita, and other victims of this disease help me live a flourishing life in the moments I am given.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
The primary reason I am traveling these 4,000 miles this summer is for the cause. The cause is not necessarily about eradicating cancer, rather it is about creating a community of support among young adults. Community, I believe, is what humans are made for. There is not a time more essential to have a community of support and relationship than when we lose a loved one, or a loved one is going through a tough time. I want to be apart of that community. I want to be able to hear other's stories while sharing my own.
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!
|Renee & Ryan Preston||02/19/2018||$100.00||Ride hard and represent well as you go on this journey...We know you will have some great memories for life!||Brent L Abney||02/12/2018||$50.00||Colin & Diana Botes||02/10/2018||$500.00||Good luck, be safe, proud of you, love you!||Kathy Santa Ana||02/10/2018||$100.00||Good luck, Connor! Can't wait to hear about your adventure!||James & Merrill McCreary||02/10/2018||$250.00||Good luck, Connor. We are looking forward to sharing your adventure!||Karen Bryan||02/10/2018||$250.00||Sandy Welfare||02/08/2018||$50.00||Good luck Connor. Be safe. The Welfares||Catherine McCreary||02/08/2018||$100.00||So proud of you! Thank you for supporting this cause :)||Kim Collins||01/31/2018||$100.00||Mary Shaw||01/28/2018||$100.00||So proud of you Connor. Love, Nana||Connor Botes||01/12/2018||$100.00|