Laurel Denney is a senior at Bemidji State 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?
Cancer has impacted not only my family, but it has impacted so many people around me. In the fall of 2015, my mom’s doctor discovered a cancerous tumor during her annual mammogram. Thankfully the tumor was significantly smaller than most, but it was also very aggressive. Had the radiologist not discovered the tumor when he did, and my mom had gone another year without knowing it was there until her next annual mammogram, it would have been a much different situation. One I am thankful did not happen every single day. My mom underwent surgery two days before I left for Spain for a semester abroad, and thankfully the doctors were able to remove the entirety of the cancer. My mother underwent radiation for the following month, and was then declared to be in full remission. There are no words for how grateful I am that doctors were able to detect my mother’s cancer so early, and perform a cancer miracle. I know many other people and families are not as lucky as mine.
As I previously stated, breast cancer is common on my mother’s side of the family. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer during her early fifties, and had a mastectomy for one of her breasts. Not only has breast cancer impacted my family, but peritoneal cancer took the life of my great Aunt Myrtle when I was only nine years old. I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1994, and my family moved to Coon Rapids, Minnesota in the fall of 1995, where my parents had accepted new positions with the Star Tribune Newspaper. We returned to Colorado every year after that until I was 10 years old to visit my Great uncle Tony, and my great Aunt Myrtle. My Uncle Tony and Aunt Myrtle were my third set of grandparents, and the grandparents with whom I had the closest relationship with at the time. I remember every year going back to Colorado and sprinting to the door to give my aunt Myrtle the largest hug in the entire world. I always used to tell her that I had been saving it for her ever since we left Colorado the last time we had visited. Her nickname to my sister and I was ‘MeeMee’, and to this day I miss her just as much as I did when I found out I would never be able to save another hug for her again. I will never forget writing her a note on the day of her funeral to lay in her coffin telling her how much I loved her, and how one day I will be able to give her years and years’ worth of hugs. She fought a long, hard, four-year battle with peritoneal cancer before it took her life. No nine year old child should ever have to feel the pain of losing a loved one to something so awful.
These are only a few of the stories near and dear to my heart on how cancer has not only impacted my life, but other loved ones around me. I would love nothing more than to be able to participate in the 4K for cancer run across the country to help raise awareness and funds for this awful disease.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
I want to be a runner with 4K to not only help raise awareness and funds for young adult cancer, but for this terrible disease as a whole. There are too many lives taken each year from cancer, and I want to run to be able to honor not only my loved ones, but for so many other people. There are many different ways people honor and think of their loved ones effected by this disease, and this is how I would love to continue to honor mine. Another reason I want to be a runner with 4K is to run and be a part of a community who wants to do the same thing. Everyone running across the country with 4K has experienced the same thing more or less, and they know what it’s like to face such an awful thing. Running with a team through 4K will allow me to experience so many emotions and become stronger with so many other people who feel the same way. This run would allow me to grow alongside so many other people, and to show the nation that we believe in the fight for cancer. Running with 4K allows individuals to show survivors we believe in their fight, and it shows how we are pushing and fighting right alongside those who are currently effected by cancer. I want to be a runner with 4K to do my best to make a difference, and show everyone effected by cancer that we are all fighting this fight together.
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!
|Scott & Deb Denney||07/13/2018||$200.00||You rock, Laurel! See you soon!||Dave and Cindy Boden||07/11/2018||$100.00||Way to go Laurel - Happy to support this great cause!||Ruth Denney||07/08/2018||$100.00||I hope this helps! I love you! Mom||Nicole Christianson||07/08/2018||$20.00||You’re amazing, love you Laurel!||Grace Dejno||07/08/2018||$40.00||What you’re doing looks like so much fun! I hope this helps you reach your goal!||Martin Herman Sorensen||07/08/2018||$30.00||Anonymous Friend||07/08/2018||$60.00||Sabrina Okeson, Grace Dejno, Amber Ammann, Lexi Oxborough, and Nicole Pederson! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR DONATION!! <3||Gerhardt Mahling||07/08/2018||$114.00||Awesome that you’re doing this and great stories on your bio page.||Katelyn Jensen||07/07/2018||$100.00||You're incredible, Laurel! It's been amazing to watch your journey. You're doing meaningful things in the world.||Elida Witthoeft||07/07/2018||$100.00||Hope this helps put you over your goal!||Katie Boden||06/13/2018||$30.00||Cece Orlikowski||06/13/2018||$50.00||Logan Rose||06/13/2018||$10.00||Good luck lady and congratulations on all you do||D L||06/13/2018||$25.00||to LD from DL :)||Anonymous Friend||06/11/2018||$100.00||You're going to kill it.||Jonna O’Connor||06/08/2018||$20.00||You go girl!!||Ruth Denney||06/08/2018||$300.00||I am so proud of you, Laurel, for doing this. I love you more.||Molly Gunkelman||06/07/2018||$25.00||Go run for cancer and kick ass! Also stay healthy||Randy Wood||05/28/2018||$50.00||Kevin Gilbertson||05/24/2018||$200.00||Always keep your head up especially when you are tired. Also, it never hurts to look back once in awhile to realize how far you have come. Good luck and good health.||Jessica Reega||05/15/2018||$10.00||so proud of you!!! kick some cancer booty!||Peter Hills||05/14/2018||$100.00||Run fast!||Megan Mahoney||05/12/2018||$10.00||Kick cancer’s ass, Laurel!||Mary Emmen||05/12/2018||$50.00||Rooting for you!! Love you!!||Meredith Denney||05/11/2018||$200.00||I am so proud of you Squirt! Love you! ❤️||Taylor & Tyler Acosta||05/11/2018||$50.00||LJ Acosta||05/11/2018||$10.00||Allie Hable & Emily Foster||05/11/2018||$40.00||Good luck on this journey Laurel! ❤️ Thank you for all your hard work for such a great cause!||Green Mill Restaurant and Bar Bemidji||05/08/2018||$191.65||Madiline Rodin||05/01/2018||$10.00||Kick some ass❤️||Aubrey Robinson||04/27/2018||$100.00||Laurel every single day you inspire me to push myself harder to be a better person for others. I am so proud of your accomplishments and happy to donate to this worthy cause. What a great experience you will have! Run Laurel Run!!||Emily Geiger||04/19/2018||$50.00||Chris Hamilton||04/19/2018||$84.00||Anonymous Friend||04/18/2018||$50.00||Love you Laurel, Lisa||Kjersten Fisher||04/17/2018||$20.00||Go Laurel!||Lisa Tschida||04/17/2018||$20.00||Good luck Laurel!! Keep up the hard work!||Bonfire||04/17/2018||$353.35||Brady Johnson||04/12/2018||$30.00||Erika & Darion Ciminski||04/12/2018||$50.00||Sarah Lutz||04/12/2018||$25.00||So proud of everything you do and work towards! You are a blessing and I’m so glad I can call you a friend. You’re going to continue to do amazing things and you got this in the “be-ag”||Kim Hanson||04/09/2018||$100.00||Best of luck!!||Green Mill Restaurant and Bar Bemidji||04/09/2018||$395.00||Anonymous Friend||04/07/2018||$25.00||Jeana Hearshman||04/06/2018||$50.00||Rock on!!||David Alan Denney||04/05/2018||$500.00||Elida Witthoeft||04/04/2018||$100.00||Cancer took my dad. My mom is a two-time survivor. It has touched the lives of many family members. I lost a good friend to cancer in 2016 and it has altered the lives of many friends. Thank you, Laurel, for joining the war against this horrifying disease.||Kerry & Todd Frauenholtz||04/03/2018||$100.00||Go Laurel GO! Thanks for your efforts in the fight against cancer.||Ashley & Noah Fedje||03/24/2018||$30.00||Good luck, Laurel! We’re rooting for you from MN! F%*! Cancer||Kathy Seuylemezian||03/21/2018||$100.00||Thank you!!!! <3||Jenny Brattensborg||03/20/2018||$25.00||Such an incredible sacrifice you are making. Cancer deserves a big butt kicking!!||Denise Bowling||03/19/2018||$75.00||Proud of you, lady!||Simone Osborn||03/19/2018||$50.00||Get it girl!||Anonymous Friend||03/14/2018||$50.00||Laurel Denney||03/13/2018||$91.00||#ROASTLAUREL4CANCER was a huge success, thank you SO MUCH to everyone that participated!||Amber Freese||03/04/2018||$15.00||You’re killin it! Keep it up girl!||Kelli Thiel||02/24/2018||$30.00||You are such an inspiration Laurel!! I am amazed by your strength, your resilience, and your perpetual positive attitude! You go girl!!||Krish Dale||02/22/2018||$75.00||Good Luc Laurel!!!||Sasha Buchner||02/22/2018||$50.00||UCF is amazing. There are so few resources for young adult cancer fighters/survivors. I'm so happy you chose this organization to support because of all they have done for me/my friends and what they stand for. Thank you so much.||Jon Roddy||02/21/2018||$100.00||I am glad to be a part of the Ulman Cancer Fund. Yes, I have experienced the loss of my father; even my mom. For in her case she was able to overcome it. In many situations that’s not the same. Friends & family are fighting as well. Research is doing its best. Best of luck with your race Laura I am glad to be part of the team that is vigorously fighting for victory over cancer.||Barb Hills||02/15/2018||$100.00||Good luck Laurel! We love you:)||Donna Mathews||02/15/2018||$41.00||Over the top you go! We love you!!!!||Robert Thiel||02/15/2018||$10.00||Good for you, Laurel!||Wyatt Klegstad||02/14/2018||$100.00||Brian Duffy||02/14/2018||$35.00||Carol Nielsen||02/13/2018||$100.00||Amanda Tronick||02/13/2018||$40.00||Elizabeth DePola||02/11/2018||$40.00||For my mama Christina - you know. Love you bb.||Elizabeth Pilon||02/10/2018||$20.00||Go, Laurel!! I am so excited to support you in such a great cause. This is in honor of my big cousin who fought and BEAT (woop woop) synovial sarcoma at 22! Thank you for using your gifts and talents to do so much good.||Randy Wood||02/08/2018||$50.00||I'm wishing you great success in the journey Laurel. There are so many people depending on finding the cure and your efforts will help that goal. My last personal loss to cancer was my wonderful brother-in-law, Cam Morris.||Shelana Ysen||02/06/2018||$25.00||I love what you’re doing but he primary reason for my donation is because I’m dying to see this rap video.||Veronica Veaux||02/01/2018||$100.00||Leah Carpenter||01/24/2018||$100.00||Laurel: What you are doing is very impressive! Cancer sucks!||Sandy Thomsen||01/22/2018||$100.00||Good luck this summer, Laurel! Paul and I look forward to hearing all about it!||Cory Page||01/21/2018||$10.00||Good luck to all the runner participating!||Leonard Emmen||01/21/2018||$200.00||Have a good run||Molly Asplin||01/18/2018||$100.00||Thank you for running for a great cause, Laurel!||Angie Kovarik||01/08/2018||$100.00||Way to go! So proud of you!||Peter Koeleman||01/07/2018||$100.00||Emily Thomsen||01/05/2018||$100.00||See you in Boston!||Allyson Plessner||12/29/2017||$30.00||Love you girly!! Go KILL IT ❤️||Halbana Tarmizi||12/28/2017||$100.00||All the best...||Young Seob Son||12/25/2017||$100.00||Hope you have wonderful memories!||Rachael Sarette||12/15/2017||$20.00||You are an inspiration and I'm glad to have you in my life <3 <3 <3||Sarah Gaub||12/14/2017||$50.00||SO INSPIRED BY YOU! <3||Kari Wood||12/13/2017||$100.00||So proud of you Girl!! :)||Al Nistler||12/13/2017||$20.00||Good luck!||Paxton Williams||12/11/2017||$20.00||PROUD OF YOU BBY!!!!||Laurel Denney||12/08/2017||$100.00|