The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, which provides support services to young people with cancer and their families, is nearing completion of a house in Baltimore where patients can stay while receiving life-saving cancer treatments.
The campaign to fund the house located just north of the Johns Hopkins Hospital campus has been the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the Ulman Cancer Fund’s two-decade history.
“Housing is critical,” said Brock Yetso, executive director of the Ulman Cancer Fund. “Just a 30-minute drive when you have to be in the hospital every single day can be very challenging. A patient who doesn’t have close housing might bypass treatment. They might go somewhere closer to home where the treatment is not the same.”
The house will include eight private family suites on the top floor and a communal living space on the main floor. It also includes a 1,000-square-foot meditation room and wellness area.
“Patients and survivors say these are the things they wanted to see,” Yesto said. “They wanted it to be useful and medically safe, but not childish.”
With fundraising still a priority for the house and other Ulman Cancer Fund initiatives, the founders of industrial design firm, Grappleworks stepped in to lend a helping hand.
In search of a social cause to support the team at Grappleworks say they listened during a brainstorming exercise as everyone in the room shared stories impacted by cancer.
Grappleworks co-founder Simon Fallows said someone in the room shouted out “Screw Cancer” and everyone noted how the words simply stuck.
During a research exercise to uncover how others use the term, Grappleworks created a “Screw Cancer” event hosted by The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults in Baltimore.
Fallows says it didn’t take long for both organizations to recognize the potential to build out the “Screw Cancer” brand together— creating a movement that includes events and products that people could wear, share and declare the Screw Cancer message.
Now “Screw Cancer” is a popular campaign launched on the crowdfunding platform, www.INDIEGOGO.com.
The “Screw Cancer” collection of well-designed gift and lifestyle products, which includes jewelry, hydration, tools and apparel is the creation of an international partnership between Grappleworks and The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
“The launch of the ‘Screw Cancer’ lifestyle brand on Indiegogo.com galvanizes the need for a unique cause marketing brand that connects with a young adult demographic with the funds from the sale of the ‘Screw Cancer’ products directly supporting programs like our ‘1:1 patient navigation program’ and The Ulman House,” Yesto said.
Both Yetso and Fallows say they wondered if “Screw Cancer” could be the next big thing to open the conversation and unite young adults.
As the number of cancer diagnoses continues to rise among young adults, their hope is a world without cancer. Until then, Ulman House and Grappleworks officials say they will continue their mission to empower young adult cancer survivors, their family and friends, to unite together, encouraging conversations so no one feels helpless or alone.
“One of their biggest projects to date is Ulman House, a home for young adult cancer patients who are traveling to Baltimore to seek treatment,” Yesto said.
The House is scheduled to open in early December and officials are looking for community members to get involved. There are many volunteer opportunities to help set-up the home and cook meals for patients. For more information or to volunteer, visit: https://ulmanfund.org/ulmanhouse/.
“If you’re coming out to volunteer why not pre-purchase a Screw Cancer T-shirt or a unique gift in time for Christmas,” Fallows said. “It’s a great way to show support to loved ones battling [cancer] while also contributing to the Ulman mission.”
To purchase “Screw Cancer” gifts, visit www.indiegogo.com or directly to https://igg.me/at/screwcancergifts.