Laurel Denney is a recent graduate of Bemidji State University. In the summer of 2019, she will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 49-day, 4000+ mile run from San Francisco to New York, raising money and awareness for the Ulman Foundation.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
My connection to the cancer community is both common and unique. In the fall of 2015 my mom was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. She underwent surgery right after the new year, and endured radiation through march of 2016. This was an extremely difficult time in my life because while this was all happening at home, I was studying abroad across the globe in Bilbao, Spain. Unfortunately, my mother is not the only member of my family to struggle with this awful disease. My grandmother and my mom’s mother, survived breast cancer in her early fifties. My nana had a mastectomy for one of her breasts to help put her into remission, and save her life. Not only has breast cancer taken its toll on my mom’s side of the family, but my great aunt Myrtle suffered through, and eventually passed away from peritoneal cancer when I was nine years old. My great aunt Myrtle was my third “grandmother” and losing someone so important in my life at such a young age, is something I will never forget. I was born in Colorado Springs, CO, and my family moved to Minnesota before I was a year old. I will never forget going back each year, sprinting to the door to give my great 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. Those moments are something I cherish, and hold near & dear to my heart. 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. One moment I will never forget, is writing her a note to lay in her coffin on the day of her funeral. In this note I told her how much I loved her, and how eventually one day I would be able to give her years and years’ worth of saved up hugs. My MeeMee fought a four-year battle with peritoneal cancer before it took her life. I will always remember the pain of losing someone I loved so much, and by running across America for the second time I hope to help prevent any nine year old from experiencing that type of pain.
One of the unique ways I am connected to the cancer community, is how I was a member of the inaugural Team Boston through the 4K For Cancer during the summer of 2018. Running across America showed me the impact a team of individuals can have on different communities, and how important it is to do something so much bigger than yourself. I would love nothing more than to do it again, and give back for another summer.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Foundation?
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.
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!
|Kari Wood||12/10/2018||$40.00||Katrina Ragland||10/24/2018||$25.00||Happy Birthday Laurel! You're amazing :)||Samuel Snyder||09/17/2018||$17.49||17 states and 49 days later, and you're still about to do it all over again. Can't wait to hear about all of the new people and communities you are going to impact! I'll be there in spirit running alongside you each day to check in on your heavy breathing!||Seth Rinehart||09/07/2018||$25.00||I am SO proud of you. This cause is lucky to have you both. Congrats on the big leap, and Team Boston 2018 will be rooting for you every day along the way. Good luck friend!||Laurel Denney||08/27/2018||$100.00|