4K Alumni Newsletter - Vol. 1 No. 3
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Dear 4K Alumni,

I hope this email finds you well! 4K is settled into life on the road and changing lives one day at a time! They are already more than half-way through their journey. It's really flying by!

Thank you to all alumni who came out to volunteer during training weekends and send-offs last month, as well as supporting the 4K teams this summer. Special shout-out to all of the mentors out there. I have had great feedback from this year's riders and runners - thank you for making their experience better! Mentorship sign-ups for 2017 will be in the next issue, so keep a look out. We had a successful kick-off to the 2016 season, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without YOU!

As some of you may know, about 16 miles from send-off, Seattle rider Jennifer Reisfeld had a traumatic accident going down a steep hill which ended her 4K journey immediately. She was rushed to shock trauma and has been making a healthy recovery, which can be followed via her caring bridge page. Jen was a very hard-working and dedicated leg leader who did a fantastic job securing hosts and food for her team, which we all know is not an easy task! She was committed to 4K and ready to ride in memory of her father and her aunt. Her sister also hosted a dinner for Team Seattle on the 4th of July! Unfortunately, Jen has faced some setbacks in her recovery is now back in the hospital. Jen was really excited to book her ticket to Seattle to welcome her team as they finish their 70-day journey, so let's hope this doesn't prevent her from coming! If you or anyone you know is able to help out, you can donate to her GoFundMe page to help deal with medical expenses.

In this issue, you will find information on Arrivals, more ways to get connected, and more people to meet! We are excited to grow our network, one 4Ker at a time!

As always, your feedback is welcome. Remember, cancer changes lives… and so do YOU!
 

Skylar Marcoux
4K For Cancer
Program Coordinator
4K Alumni Liaison

Stay Involved with 4K!

Arrivals 2016

   Fill out this form to volunteer at an arrival!   

Team New York Run: August 6th 2016 at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, NY

Team Baltimore Run: August 6th 2016 at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore, MD

Team Seattle Ride: August 13th 2016 at Lake Union Park in Seattle, WA

Team Portland Ride: August 13th 2016 at Overlook Park in Portland, OR

Team San Francisco Ride: August 13th 2016 at Crissy Beach in San Francisco, CA

Team San Diego Ride: August 13th 2016 at Mission Beach in San Diego, CA

4K Reunion 2016

We are still looking for volunteers to organize a reunion this year for 2005, 2006, 2010, Seattle 2011, and San Francisco 2011. Want to become the chair of planning your team reunion in 2016? Fill out this form to take charge and make it happen! Contact the current chairpeople below for your team’s reunion info:

2004 - Monica Kaitz: monicakaitz@gmail.com

2007 - Robert Attorri: ibdthor@gmail.com

2008 - Daniel Ingram: daniel.m.ingram@gmail.com

Portland 2011 - Bianca Monaco: bianca.monaco@me.com
Above: 4K 2009 Reunion Ride from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco: March 19th-22nd, 2016. Organized by Robert Attorri and teammates!
Where Are They Now?
 

To help create a network among 4K alumni, we will be selecting a 4K alum to be featured in our new “Where Are They Now?” Q&A section. Interested in being the next spotlight, or want to nominate a teammate? Click here to fill out the 4K Alum Newsletter Spotlight survey!

Now it’s time to meet 2006 and 2009 4K Ride Alum, Raffi Wartanian!

Q: What is your current job?

A: I am a multi-platform storyteller passionate about social justice, innovative institutions, and creativity. I have brought this passion for storytelling to the education sector where, most recently, I have worked in the Los Angeles area as a writing tutor at the California Institute of the Arts and as a US History teacher in a local school where I also manage communications.

I recently published a short documentary character study profiling the Armenian-American musician Ara Dinkjian, a renowned master of an ancient pear-shaped lute considered the Middle East’s “king” of instruments called the oud. In April 2015, he traveled  to Istanbul, Turkey to perform in a historic concert commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. I had been a fan of Ara’s music since high school, and when I learned of this performance, I tracked down grant support to travel to Turkey and capture footage of Istanbul during this historic moment. I interviewed Ara before and after the performance in his home outside of NYC.

Unfortunately, Turkey’s government denies the genocide took place and the few Armenians remaining in Turkey today live as second-class citizens. The concert in which Ara performed was more than a musical performance. It dedicated itself to honoring the souls lost during one of the darkest chapters in history in a country that has seen those who openly discuss the Armenian Genocide intimidated, imprisoned, or assassinated.

My grandparents survived the genocide, and I grew up visiting their resettled Armenian community in Beirut, Lebanon during the summers. Back in the US, I witnessed protests demanding Armenian Genocide recognition in America’s largest cities every April 24, the genocide’s anniversary day. The tension and vitriol present at these gatherings felt visceral and unproductive. With the 100th anniversary approaching in April 2015, I wanted to try unpacking in a mindful way the complex story of survival, hope, and resistance in the land where the genocide took place and, through its ongoing denial, continues. 

View Raffi’s Documentary here

Q: Why did you do the 4K?

A: I was walking around campus at Hopkins one day and saw a flier that said, “Wanna bike across America?” I scratched my head. The clear sense of organizational mission and boldness spoke to me. I had learned from my prior experiences in community service that being a “brother for others” offered unmatched opportunities for growth and inspiration. What’s more, the clear sense of adventure associated with crossing the continental US was further incentive to submit an application.

Before, during, and after our visits to Hope Lodge, our team would reflect upon the struggles faced by those with or affected by cancer. But it wasn’t until we started ascending the Appalachians through headwinds and downpours that we really started to appreciate that the courage and tenacity of those we had met could compel us to cultivate those very same qualities as we took on our own challenges during the ride. I would think to myself ‘if they can endure years of chemo and surgery, setbacks and hope, then why can’t I put one foot in front of the other and climb this mountain?’ This boldness - to live, to fight, to enjoy every moment - fed right into the spirit of adventure evident among our veteran riders and in the very notion of fathoming this seemingly improbable adventure.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you learned on the 4K?

A: Never stop climbing the mountain of life. No matter how heavy the rain, how punishing the heat, how steep the incline, or how rattling the winds, all you must do is put one foot in front of the other and never stop climbing.

Q: What was different between the 2006 and 2009 ride?

A: The second ride felt like spending two months with a best friend. The first ride felt like getting to know a relatively boisterous and trustworthy stranger who assures you that the adventure of a lifetime awaits. It’s clear you share some core values, so you trust that stranger and it’s absolutely the right call.

For the 2006 ride, I was a rookie who thought playing basketball and going on a few training rides would provide adequate preparation. Big mistake. I was pretty nervous the first few days and wasn’t sure if I would make it. But once we reached Cleveland, a place I had typically flown to visit family, it had finally sunk that pedaling to California was not just real, but indeed possible. The second time was absolutely different, and this is something I often tell returning riders: never compare the two trips. Skills, knowledge, and maturity essential to the 4K are quite refined for veterans. I felt my duty was to help rookies make the most of their journey while rediscovering for myself the blissful spirit of service and the open road. On both occasions, the bonds formed with my teammates and the resilience I discovered within myself and others across the country left a lasting impression that echos to this very day.

Q: What’s next for Raffi?

A: I am working on a project that tackles the gun violence epidemic through narrative storytelling.

Publication of the Documentary

Huffington Post Article

Raffi finishing his first 2006 4K ride!
Raffi during his second 4K ride in 2009!
UCF PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT:
 
BOYAA


Join BOYAA, our Board Of Young Adult Advisors, which seeks to foster a culture of leadership, service, advocacy, and cooperation among young professionals ages 21-40 that share our passion for the young adult cancer movement. Kevin Barnett states, “This is the best way to remedy 4K withdrawal!”
4K Alum and BOYAA members, Kevin Barnett and Joanna Freeman at Screw Cancer Brew Hope
Freeman and Barnett at the 2013 4K Send Off! 
 “If you’re local to the Baltimore area, it’s a great way for 4K alum to stay involved with UCF. There are opportunities to help with scholarships, service projects, and support other UCF events while continuing to raise awareness. As a member of BOYAA, I was able to help plan an event called 'Screw Cancer Brew Hope' that takes place every fall in the Baltimore area, which is a fun atmosphere to support and raise funds for UCF. In the winter, I was able to sponsor a family for the gift drive - one of the many service events you get to be a part of with BOYAA!”
- Joanna Freeman
 
Contact Averil@ulmanfund.org to get involved!

Get Active!

Team Fight

  • Fight Club - Use any race/endurance event of your choice this year as a platform to raise awareness & support for the over 70,000 young adults diagnosed with cancer each year, in the US. All Fight Club members have access to local Team Fight workouts and opportunities for race reimbursements for their chosen events.
  • Corporate Cup- The Corporate Cup Challenge is an initiative to bring together local businesses in an effort to support the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, through participation in walks, runs, triathlons, or other fitness events. The Corporate Cup Challenge promotes health and wellness, co-worker camaraderie and philanthropy within the local community, all while raising money to support the young adult cancer cause.  It also offers companies the opportunity to engage in “friendly and healthy” competition against fellow companies that’s good for both business and the community.
  • Iron Girl Triathlon - We are still in need of volunteers for the upcoming Iron Girl Triathlon! Please share the following link with your friends, family, and respective networks:

For more information, please visit www.teamfight.org or contact Nicole Muffoletto at nmuffoletto@ulmanfund.org.

Race in a fun 100-meter race (.10K) in Fells Point Square with Flying Dog Brewery, the Oyster Recovery Partnership, and UCF. Are you or someone you know a cancer survivor? Email averil@ulmanfund.org to register for free and participate in the survivor wave! Tickets and sponsorship information coming soon: sprintforspat.com

How We Change Lives

"Your visit today meant so much to me and my family. It lifted everyone's spirits as we head into the next phase of our own journey. My oldest daughter wants to do what you guys are [doing] when she's old enough. Good luck to you all and safe travels."
-Emerson's Greenhouse, where Team Portland had a water stop in Ohio.
"My son Nick and I met your group doing the run on the span between Baker, NV and Delta,UT on Hwy 50, the 'Loneliest Road in America'.  What a great group of people! And, so encouraging to Nick (in the middle of the pic) who has brain cancer and has had two surgeries at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. A big THANK YOU to that wonderful group and to all of the 2016 runners."
-Kimberly Perry, who crossed paths with Team Baltimore.

Stay Connected!

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  • @UlmanCancerFund!
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  • Update your contact info here to receive updates from UCF.

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