Michael Cha is a senior at Houghton College. 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 Portland, OR raising money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
I always felt that cancer was an unlucky thing that impacted other people. At first, I didn’t know much about it. Sure, other people suggest they’ve had a family member, a friend, or even themselves go through the devastating disease. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones. Cancer never impacted me. It was a stranger… until it wasn’t.
I grew up in Korea for the first few years of my childhood. When I was 13, my parents and I moved to Canada leaving most of our beloved family behind. We moved once again when I was 17 to the United States where I started college. Throughout most of my adolescence, my contact with family from back home in Korea was through Skype. Through those computer speakers, talking with my family, was the first time I felt the full impact of the word “cancer”.
My beautiful, young-at- heart grandmother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I couldn’t help but think how little I could do to comfort them through the speakers of a computer. It wasn’t like I could drive down the street to visit with her on some random afternoon. She was halfway around the world! I felt powerless and lonely. It wasn’t fair. After many hospital visits with doctors and receiving several treatments, she passed away in October 2016. My world was shattered. I would miss the smell of her Korean cooking filling the entire house. I would miss how her smile would brighten up a room. I would miss everything about her. I know I’ll probably never be able to develop the cure for cancer. I know I can’t make the monster disappear by hiding under the covers but what I can do, is help people not feel so alone when the word “cancer” sneaks up like a stranger in their lives.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
4K provides a platform for me to engage with communities across the United States to provide support for families affected by this disease. My grandmother’s passing was heartbreaking and being powerless was detrimental. Becoming that voice of hope and inspiration to push through the difficult times to so many people is something that I would love the opportunity to do.
Traveling around the United States has always been a dream of mine. What better way to do it than on bicycles allowing me to meet amazing people? Growing up as an athlete, I’ve always strived to give myself challenges. Bicycling over 4,000 miles for 70 days sounds like a challenge I would love to take on.
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!
|Lynn Bolser||12/13/2017||$20.00||Ebony Webber||12/12/2017||$50.00||Good Luck Michael||Meaghan Maloney||12/12/2017||$10.00||Good luck buddy!||Datonya Price||12/11/2017||$20.00||Anonymous Friend||12/09/2017||$20.00||Brick House!||Tracey Troutma||12/06/2017||$50.00||Jacob Annis||12/05/2017||$1.00||For being a pal||Norman Barclift||12/04/2017||$200.00||Anonymous Friend||12/04/2017||$40.00||Marcia Bakry||12/04/2017||$100.00||Michael Cha||11/22/2017||$100.00|