Natalie Walejewski is a junior at Grand Valley State University . In the summer of 2019, she will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 70-day, 4000+ mile ride from Baltimore to San Francisco, raising money and awareness for the Ulman Foundation.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
The cancer community is one that I have been involved in and have had a strong connection with for many years. Between volunteering with the cancer community and having family members and friends diagnosed, I have seen abundant strength amongst their challenges. Brain tumors and other forms of cancer run in my primary family. Those in my family and close friend circle have been diagnosed at different ages, some my age and some older. Having seen firsthand what cancer can do to a family is disheartening. Outside of experiencing a connection with the cancer community through family and friends, there are countless ways in which I have volunteered within the community. My family and I have helped put together a cancer benefit for multiple friends and those who were once strangers, to help pay for their costs that unfortunately come hand in hand with cancer. And, of course, my family and I giving nonstop support, love, and prayers too. No one in the cancer community should have to face the emotional, mental, physical, or economic toll that tags along with cancer all alone. Togetherness is empowering.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Foundation?
I am riding with the 4K because in the past couple of years I had missed out on a lot due to a health scare myself and battling numerous health issues. Three years of high school for me was taken by hospitalizations, specialists, and tests after tests. I was a medical mystery that slowly but eventually got figured out. At first it was a large scare with the doctors’ belief that I may have inherited the brain tumor that runs in my family; however, the MRI results blessed me as it turned out that I did not have a tumor after all. I remember all of the feelings and emotions between the scare and having to battle with my health, various hospitalizations, and multiple surgeries during such a prime time of my young life in high school, but relief with good news when it came. Those moments changed me; it made me want to do more for those in the cancer community who could not feel that relief I did. Tests and doctors did not stop though after the scare and MRI. There was still a continuous flow of doctors, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. During this rough patch, there were plenty of times I wished so badly I could be a normal high school student and enjoy the fun things and do more than just going to the doctors and being so lethargic. At the time I knew there was only so much I could do, so I did what I could, and I am striving to do even more now that I am better. I made that promise to myself that after I got better and regained good health that I would do everything in my power to make a difference in someone else’s life and never forget the way that I felt. In order to fulfill that promise, I pledged to myself that I would make those who are a part of the cancer community, in any way, shape, or form, feel more at peace in knowing that they are not going through their struggles alone, and that there will always be a team behind them. Personally, riding with the 4K will allow me to pursue my pledge as well as have a good time making memories with other young adults who have the same outlook. Riding with the 4K will better me as a person and assist many others in the cancer community who I strive to help. Ultimately young adults should be living life, not fighting for it. 4K is a team that is a big moving force and as a team we will serve for a greater purpose.
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!
|Noel Peterson||11/22/2018||$200.00||Mike Foley||11/13/2018||$25.00||Natalie Walejewski||11/12/2018||$256.00||T-Shirt Fundraiser||Jake DeLeeuw||11/01/2018||$250.00||So proud to sponsor you - American Chiropractic Center||Ed Jaros||11/01/2018||$500.00||So proud to sponsor you - Tenundra Inc.||Marge Saganski||10/31/2018||$19.50||Susan Knoll||10/31/2018||$5.00||Julie Smoes||10/31/2018||$34.00||Randy DeVoogd||10/30/2018||$20.00||In Honor of Linda Munro||Luke Stewart||10/30/2018||$20.00||In Honor of Linda Munro||Laura Fogle||10/16/2018||$100.00||Peter Zomberg||08/16/2018||$200.00||Schenk Boncher & Rypma||08/01/2018||$150.00||Mary Veldkamp||07/21/2018||$100.00||Thanks for watering our flowers||Cathy Alvesteffer||07/19/2018||$40.00||Lynda Bricker||07/14/2018||$100.00||Joseph Bricker||07/10/2018||$250.00||Anonymous Friend||07/02/2018||$100.00||We are rooting for you and all the great things you are doing to raise money to combat cancer!||Natalie Walejewski||06/26/2018||$100.00|