Jose Figueroa is a senior at Columbia College Columbia. 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 San Francisco, CA raising money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
My most recent connection to the cancer community was the lost of my best friend's dad(William). It was very unfortunate for this to have happened but I had to stay positive. My friend's mom and dad treated/treats me as one of their own and so it was easy for me to get attached. William was such a giving person. One of the first things he would say to me every time I went over to my friend's house was "Hey Jose, would you like to eat?" I guess he knew I love to eat. Can you guess what my response was? "Umm yes!". My friend's parents would always ask me if I needed anything or this that and the other. They are such nice people. You can see how easy it was for me to accept people so loving and caring. I've had to make tough decisions at a young age, so for me comfort wasn't easy to come by. One last thing about William was his playlist of music, it was great with a lot of old school soundtracks. I can't thank them enough for the support they have given me. Now it is my turn to support in any way, shape or form.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
I do not only want to support my best friend and his family but I want to support all of those families out there who are fighting cancer. I want to show them that there are people who care and want them to have a fighting chance at something many people take for granted. Life is by far the biggest gift of all. Many who are fighting may feel as if they are alone on this journey but they are not. There are people like me who are able and willing to give the support needed to help fight this everlasting fight. A lot of people don't think twice about something like this until it affects them. I am not afraid to admit that I was one of those people. This doesn't only go for cancer this applies to all people who are battling some type of illness. I've always wanted to do a bike ride like this and now I have the opportunity to do it for cause way much greater than my want. The pleasure will be all mine. I didn't think twice about wanting to give.
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!