Ryan Tomlin is a junior at Missouri State University. In the summer of 2018, he 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?
My connection to the cancer community runs close to home as both of my parents continue to deal with two different forms of skin cancer. My father has had 4 separate diagnoses of various forms of carcinoma, while my mother was diagnosed with melanoma and had a tumor removed. This is very difficult for my dad as his passion is landscaping and gardening. He is a teacher and loves to spend his summers helping aging neighbors and friends with their yards. He always uses sunscreen, wears a floppy hat and tries to accomplish most of his work in the early morning or evening. I know he is not happy being inside on a beautiful day. I’m thankful that both of them continue to go through monthly body scans to check for additional cancerous areas. I know this isn't one of the most dangerous forms of cancer, but it is something that is always on my mind as I realize that there is a genetic component. In fact, both of my grandfathers and two of my uncles have battled this form of cancer, one has since passed away. I absolutely love playing sports and spend a great deal of my time outside being active. I have exactly the same complexion as they do and I realize that it is only a matter of time that I may be dealing with this as well. I don’t know what my future holds and I’m not sure I’ll ever have this opportunity again in my life.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
I believe this is a perfect fit for me. I have years of running experience and I’m looking to push my body to the limits. I want to use this opportunity to make a difference in the cancer community. I have always wanted to make my parents proud and I feel this run would provide me with the chance to show how inspiring they are to me. I want to raise money that will hopefully provide my parents with the opportunity to spend their summers outdoors without the constant worry of cancer. It's providing me with a chance to meet others who want to participate in a life changing experience. I believe the people that I'm going to meet will make a lasting impression on me and I’m quite confident that I will be very humbled along the way.
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!