William Whitmer is a junior at Ball State University. In the summer of 2019, he 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?
Cancer truly does affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives. My connection with the cancer community begins with the rather sudden loss of a dear friend and mentor when I was a young kid, John. I was a volunteer at a local railway museum, and he was a grandfatherly figure to all of the youth, taking us under his wing. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January of 2008, and passed the next month in February.
I have seen other friends and acquaintances fight through cancer, but nothing affected me more than the death of my mother Jeanine in 2017 from hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. She was an incredibly brave woman that lived life on her terms; she never failed to push her children to be generous, kind, and of service to others, even when it would be difficult.
Why are you traveling 4,000 miles this summer with the Ulman Foundation?
My inspiration for joining the 4K for Cancer in support of the Ulman Foundation stems from the call to service instilled in me by my mother. She and I had discovered the 4K when she was still living, and we both were incredibly moved and inspired.
Shortly before she passed away, I brought up the 4K as a personal goal of mine. One of the last conversations she and I had was her encouraging me to ride, and to remember to give, and give generously to those who are not as fortunate as I am.
I am inspired to ride across the United States to help raise money for Ulman, their programs, and to foster a sense of community for young adults affected by cancer. But far more motivating to me is the ability to connect with others, and inspire hope in those who truly need it.
Hope can never be forgotten as a critical part of caring for others, especially in the cancer community. The hope for treatment, of a life well lived, is everything. We truly can change lives through the power of hope and inspiring it in others.
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!