In honor of Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week, which runs from April 4 to April 10, we have teamed up with the Ulman Cancer Fund to spread the word about UCF house. Learn more at ulmanfund.org/theucfhouse.
Every person on the planet has been affected by cancer in some way. No matter your background, cancer has most likely touched your life eitherthrough your own experience or a loved one's.
In response to the devastating effects of this disease, many have donated to research, ran marathons, and cut their hair in an attempt to defeat this illness and support those who are suffering from it. All too often, the simple need of housing, to ensure accessibility to today's cutting-edge cancer treatments, is overlooked. This problem is magnified for young adults, those between the ages of 18 and 39 years old, who usually don't qualify for the free or affordable housing programs that are typically dedicated to children and elderly patients.
In a collaboration of philanthropy and development, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults has responded to this need by beginning the transformation of six rowhomes on the 2100 block of E. Madison Street near Baltimore's many elite hospitals. The UCF House will be a home 365 days a year for 15 to 39 patients and their families undergoing treatments in Baltimore City. Brock Yetso, executive director of the UCF, says this type of housing is the first of its kind in Maryland and possibly the country.
"This is a safe environment where cancer patients undergoing treatment can be amongst their peers and find support," Yetso said. "More young adults need treatment that requires extended stays near the hospital, and many options are incredibly costly. Our approach is to create a program that is replicable in other cities and can act as a model for others."
The UCF House will be a full-service, home away from home, with access to a gym, food preparation, and common areas. Rooms are outfitted so that patients can stay with their loved ones during this stressful time. After breaking ground in January with the help of partners like East Baltimore Development, Inc., the UCF expects to have the renovation completed by the end of this year. At a building cost of $1.25 million, the UCF House will transform a block of almost entirely vacant properties into a top-of-the-line, LEED certified home for any young adult who is receiving cancer treatment in Baltimore City, no matter where they are from.
"This is an investment in Baltimore City," Yetso said. "Through the help of our state partners like Senator Nathaniel McFadden, Delegate Cory McCray, and City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young we were able to receive a bond bill and bring money back to this city as well as serve a population in need."
At $2.5 million in funds, the UCF is still just shy of their goal of $3 million to build and run the UCF house for the first three years. To learn more about the UCF and support the project, visit ulmanfund.org/theucfhouse.