At Ulman, we are motivated by our ‘Whys’. We work hard because of the people we have met who have been impacted by cancer. Our ‘Whys’ are also a big part of 4K for Cancer. Our runners and bikers share with their team every morning at Dedication Circle why they are traveling across the country to fight cancer.
While on 4K for Cancer, many of our bikers and runners add to their ‘Whys’ as they meet more people impacted by cancer. For our 4K staff here at Ulman, their ‘Whys’ have continued to grow during their years of working with Ulman. Read below to see what their ‘Whys’ were when they embarked on their journey with 4K for Cancer, and what their ‘Whys’ are today.
Rebecca Eddy – Team Baltimore 2014
Originally, my ‘Why’ centered around my own family and friends, and how we have been impacted by cancer. I remember being in college and waiting to hear updates about my grandma and feeling helpless. I felt like I couldn’t do anything about what she was dealing with, especially since she didn’t live nearby. I knew I wanted to do something in honor of her and my other family and friends who had been impacted. I wanted to help make a difference in some way. I ran in honor of my grandparents, who are both cancer survivors, one of my teachers, who passed away in high school from cancer, and several of my family friends who passed away.
I have come into contact with so many people impacted by cancer. My ‘Why’ grew because I was constantly meeting people during 4K. Our team would be running, and strangers would pull over on the side of the road and ask what we were doing. They would see our vans and donate randomly or share their stories.
I remember we were running in this Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot, and this lady pulled over and stopped us to ask, “What are you guys doing?” She had seen our vans, and her son had been diagnosed just that day. So, we cried together. Our whole group surrounded her and talked to her for a while. We put her son’s name on our legs and carried him with us that last mile. She said it meant a lot to her.
I just met so many people on 4K. So many people were so kind and generous. They would take us in and feed us, but they would also share with us their stories. So, I would hear those stories and add them to the list of people that I was running for.
Running across the country with 4K, and now working with Ulman, has expanded my ‘Why’ to include the whole community of those impacted by cancer as I have become more aware of the vast number affected. I met so many people on my 4K journey and through working here – so many amazing and passionate people.
Matt Dyjack – Team San Diego 2014
I initially rode for a couple of family friend, and my grandparents who passed away from cancer. It’s always been something that has been in my family, and it’s been an issue that has impacted a lot of people. My good friend Dan did 4K in memory of his dad and other family members, so I rode for them, too.
With 4K, your ‘Why’ is going to grow as the summer goes on. My ‘Why’ then encompassed my teammates and the people they dedicated their rides to, as well as our hosts and the people we met on the road. It really began to grow throughout the summer.
Now, it has grown, so it is not only those initial people that I knew going into 4K, and those I heard about on the 4K, but also the folks here at Ulman that I have gotten to know a lot better. Being on the 4K staff and then being on point to point has added so many people to my ‘Why’ that I have met along the way. I am really doing what I do now for their memory, and for their ‘Whys’ and the people that they dedicate their days to. I think it gets more impactful when you start to hear their stories and then you want to dedicate to those people, too, and the people who have impacted their lives.
Jenifer Antonelli – Team Baltimore 2017
I ran for two people.
I ran for my grandpa, Poppie, – he passed away from cancer when I was a junior in high school. This was my first time seeing what cancer patients and their families go through. I was old enough to understand a little bit, but my dad was also the caretaker, so we were over there a lot helping my grandpa.
And then, a girl I went to college with, Shannon, passed away the December after she graduated (the December of my senior year). It was a complete shock to the whole community at our school. Shannon loved running, and she was a really big supporter of the cancer cause because she lost someone very close to her to cancer in high school. So, when I saw 4K for Cancer online, I was like, “This is Shannon. This has her name written all over it.” And I wanted to do it for her.
I met a ton of people along 4K. All of my teammates and all of their people became my ‘Why’. I think one that stands out is Angela DeCarlo. She was a patient, and she worked with the patient navigators at Ulman. She recently passed away in November. I had her name on my leg throughout my 4K journey. And now working here, it’s people like her that come to mind when I think about why we are doing this. And I could name so many others from that as well.
My other ‘Why’ now would be my dad. He passed away the day I accepted the job at Ulman. So I feel like I have been in the right place being around the Ulman community. I fundraise now for him for the Ulman House. I am trying to get a room named after him. It motivates me not only to fundraise, but to work hard every day. Even though he didn’t pass away from cancer, he was my biggest supporter through 4K and he loved what we were doing. So, I do everything for him to make him proud.
Parker Gray – Team Seattle 2017
I had two very close friends in high school. One lost her dad to cancer before I knew her. Then, in the summer of 2016, the other friend’s mom passed away. She had mentioned 4K to me before, and I just wanted to do something more service-based because I have always been more service oriented. So, I looked into 4K, and I liked biking, and I thought it was a great way to combine the two passions. So, I think my ‘Why’ was to show my friends the support that I felt I wasn’t able to give when their parents passed. It was just a way to show them that I cared, to honor their loved ones, and to just make an impact.
I am lucky because I have never really had cancer affect my life or anyone too close to me too much. I have had some family members who had it and passed away from it, but I have never really seen the direct effect. So, after 4K, having that experience and seeing how many lives it touches and people it affects, I feel so much stronger of a connection to it. I feel the need to be there and provide those services for people. I think for me now, it is more of a passion to feel like I am actually making a difference and doing something that hopefully helps others.