Defeating cancer is my passion. It's what keeps me going when I witness the devastation that cancer brings to a family and a person's life. My passion is what gives me strength to overcome the obstacles and fight against adversity in life. It helps me to not give up even when things get tough.
Passion is what drives us and can make us go that extra mile; this is a well-known fact, amongst athletes in particular. In a few weeks, 24 Hours of Booty, an annual cycling event that benefits the fight against cancer, will be held in Columbia, giving you the chance to take your passion and literally go an extra mile for cancer.
I saw firsthand the impact cancer has on families and communities at an early age. My best friend from high school, Doug Ulman, had been diagnosed with cancer three times before age 22. The sight of someone close to you fighting for his life against a vicious disease is not something one handles easily. But in that struggle, we both realized the importance of not giving up and staying positive when Doug ultimately persevered.
I lost my mom to colon cancer in March 2000. It all happened quickly, and as one might understand, it was an extremely painful time for me and my family. Cancer is ruthless, it tries to break you. It doesn't care who you are, who you love or what you have to live for — it keeps destroying until it feels it has been victorious. But what I have learned is that cancer will never be victorious as long as you fight.
My mom is gone, but cancer has not won. I am still fighting, and I invite you to fight with me.
After defeating cancer, my friend Doug started the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, which is based in Columbia. The Ulman Cancer Fund is committed to enhancing lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.
Since its inception, the Ulman Cancer Fund has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of young adult cancer and ensure all young adults and families impacted by cancer have a voice and the resources necessary to thrive. Every year, the Ulman Cancer Fund helps more than 1,000 recently diagnosed young adult patients and families navigate their cancer experience providing them with the practical, emotional, social and financial resources necessary. As a major benefactor of 24 Hours of Booty of Columbia for the past five years, the Ulman Cancer Fund has received over $250,000 in funding from participants' fundraising efforts.
24 Hours of Booty brings together cyclists of all abilities and unites people who are passionate about fighting cancer. Since 2007, 24 Hours of Booty riders have been raising money to help fuel the expansion of Ulman's Patient Navigation programs. Building a community of support for young adult patients and families, the Ulman Cancer Fund offers free support programs in communities throughout the Baltimore/Washington metro area and has navigation staff working at some of the top cancer centers in the region, including University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Join me for 24 Hours of Booty this year as a rider, sponsor or volunteer and spread hope, feel challenged and experience remembrance and celebration. Whether you spend a few hours riding as a team or all 24 cheering on cyclists, you'll walk away knowing you were a part of the fight against cancer.
On Aug. 24 and 25, 24 Hours of Booty Columbia will celebrate its fifth year and host more than 500 riders at the event at Gateway Business Park. For more information visit 24hoursofbooty.org.
Brock Yetso is CEO and president of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.