Eric Chan is a senior at Johns Hopkins University. In the summer of 2019, he will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 70-day, 4000+ mile ride from Baltimore to San Francisco, raising money and awareness for the Ulman Foundation.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
My connection to the cancer community begins with those closest to me. In the spring of 2013, my aunt was diagnosed with brain cancer. Prior to that, the term cancer seemed like an intangible concept. I was aware of its destructive power. However, I was not personally affected by it, so I didn’t truly understand just how destructive it was to the afflicted as well as to their loved ones. Through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, she fought hard. Unfortunately, after a painfully long fight, she passed away a year after her diagnosis. This was the first time that cancer had affected me personally. For the first time, I could feel the tangible pain of cancer, its ice cold sting in my heart as I mourned for her. Two years later, cancer hit even much closer to home. My father was diagnosed with colon cancer that summer. This one affected me the most being my father and my mother were the closest family members to me. I remember leaving home for my second year of college not knowing whether anything would be the same again. Sophomore year was the hardest year of my life, but it taught me a lot.
Having experienced family members close to me who have had to battle with cancer, I began to understand the devastating effects of cancer and the importance of comfort and hope during those toughest times. The gym was my refuge during these trying times. It was here where I began to run, running out my anger and fear. It was that year that I began to participate in an event hosted by my college, the JHU 5K for Lymphoma, which affects many young children as well as adults around the world. I also dedicated my race to my father and my aunt, both fearless cancer fighters. My father was lucky as his diagnosis was made early. Within two years of undergoing major surgery and countless sessions of radiation treatments, my father has been able to recover fully. I am forever grateful for everyone who has helped my father, my aunt, and the myriads of other cancer battlers and survivors, and my only wish is to be able to give back to this community in the best way that I can.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Foundation?
My motivations for becoming a rider with 4K stem from a desire for personal growth and a commitment to service. My years in college have allowed me to experience significant personal growth. They have taught me the importance of perspective. One of the most important thing that I have learned is that every person has their own unique perspective, and it is our responsibility to learn and respect each other’s perspectives. I want to embark on this 4000- mile ride in hopes of sharing my perspectives as well as learning new perspectives from others. I am committed to service because I am committed to a cause that is greater than myself, and I believe that this 4000-mile journey is just that. As long as I have a capable body and mind, I want to use them to connect with and motivate as many people in the cancer community as I can, to empower them in hopes that they will empower others as well.
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!