Lauren Miller is a freshman at Syracuse University. In the summer of 2018, she 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 dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer during my sophomore year of high school in October of 2013. He courageously fought it into remission in March 2015, but the cancer came back in the Fall of 2015 –– more aggressive than ever. I watched as he went through treatment after treatment. He became more tired and his body weakened. In spite of this, he never stopped living. He was there at all our sports games and awards ceremonies, his distinctive voice booming from the crowd. He helped me through every step of my college application process. He even made it down to my brother’s college for father’s weekend in the midst of treatment. He battled for nearly 3 years before passing away August 1, 2016.
When my dad died, he told us to keep living. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been trying to seize every day and live out his legacy of passion, commitment, authenticity, and most importantly, greatness. His greatness wasn’t the grand, showy kind. His greatness was humble acts that reached out and touched hundreds of people. His greatness was in how he conducted himself and how he lifted others up, whether it was through coaching our little league teams, fairly running our family business, or the hundreds of other things in which he involved himself. His greatness was his love. At the base of it all, he devoted so much of himself to those around him that even in his short 51 years on this earth, he lead a greater and fuller life than many people do with 80 years. He continues to inspire me to live fully and love courageously everyday.
Ideally, no one should have to be part of the cancer community –– but we are. My dad continues to inspire me to reach out and devote myself to this new community to which I am now inherently linked.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
In this past year and three months I’ve come to realize that losing my dad has become an innate part of me and my identity. Such great loss could have paralyzed me and stopped me from living, and for a while following his death, it did. I felt like I was aimlessly wandering, watching the world pass me as I tried to grapple with the devastating hole he left. Sometimes I still feel like this, but to remain stuck forever is exactly what he didn’t want for me, our shared passion for biking seems like the perfect way to keep moving, both literally and metaphorically. It was on my dad’s bucket list to bike across the US. He was never able to complete that goal. I want to do it for him and for something bigger than myself. The journey I will take this summer allows me the opportunity to give back to a cause I have been so impacted by. That’s why I’m traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults- to keep moving forward, to go beyond myself and to help others to in a community I am now and forever apart of.
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!
|Tori Munlet||01/05/2018||$15.00||You are SO amazing, and I am SO lucky to be able to call you my friend. You make the world a better place, love.||DONALD KARP||12/26/2017||$500.00||Way to go continuing the Miller legacy of generosity and compassion for others!||Anonymous Friend||12/26/2017||$250.00||So proud of you!||Gina Krusinski Schmidt||12/19/2017||$25.00||Lauren, good luck!||Kristin Kraai-Keely||12/16/2017||$100.00||Lauren, Picturing the huge grin this has brought to your dad’s face. You capture his essence so beautifully in your words. Our best wishes to you on your journey.||Denise Mulcahy||12/16/2017||$50.00||Katarina Walther||12/15/2017||$10.00||Patti McAnully Kraai||12/15/2017||$100.00||What a great undertaking in memory and honor of your dad! He would be so proud!||Kristin Keil||12/15/2017||$500.00||"The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well". I think Ralph Waldo Emerson would agree with your choices, ride on girlfriend! We are so proud and excited for you. ~The Keil Family||Emily Bono-Striegel||12/14/2017||$10.00||This is amazing Lauren! I love how you've never let the loss of your dad stop you from continuing to do great things!||Tori Cedar||12/14/2017||$10.00||One mile at a time, we're with you!!!!! Love you darling xo||Jennifer Kalsch||12/14/2017||$100.00||Anonymous Friend||12/14/2017||$500.00||"Life is a beautiful ride ." Love you so my sunshine girl. Dad is so , so proud.||Cari Wilkins||12/14/2017||$100.00||The Miller family stength and passion for life is inspiring. Thank you for being such great role models ❤️||Anonymous Friend||12/14/2017||$20.00||Karen Johk||12/14/2017||$100.00||Lauren, you are keeping your dad’s spirit alive for all of us! Thank you!||Suman Patel||12/14/2017||$100.00||This is awesome!||Aj Seymour||12/14/2017||$20.00||Lauren Miller||12/12/2017||$100.00|