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Ivelisse's 4K for Cancer 2020 Fundraising Page

Ivelisse Mandato

Ivelisse Mandato

As someone who has had cancer not once, but twice, I have written about it countless times. So, you can imagine my surprise when I sat down to write my blurb for this fundraising page and I was at a loss for words. I spent days, weeks even, trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to write. In the past, I have compared cancer to a mosquito, and, while strange, this is a viewpoint that I still maintain. (For anyone who wants to read or reread that explanation I’ll paste it below.) Cancer is a mosquito and the amount of people I have watched it affect is heartbreaking and absurd. I have watched it affect people of all ages and have heard the phrases, “but they’re so young” or “but you’re so young” too many times. Cancer can and does affect people of all ages. The Ulman Foundation’s desire to help young adults dealing with cancer really drew me to participate in 4K for Cancer. Having cancer at any age is hard, unfair, and for lack of a better phrase – just plain sucks. As someone who had cancer as a young adult, I recognize the huge impact that organizations like the Ulman Foundation can have and I am so unbelievably grateful to them. Please help me support this amazing organization by donating and/or sharing this page with your family and friends!


Anyone who has heard me speak about my cancer experience has most likely heard me tell a few stories about treatment and then transition quickly into the silver lining. Maybe I told you a little bit about one of my biopsies or about chemotherapy. I then (most likely) talked about what I consider to be the positives. Maybe I spoke about the wonderful doctors and nurses that I met or the friends that I made. Maybe we’ve never spoken about my cancer experience, but you saw me talking about it on a fundraising page or on social media. Something that I have always said in the past is that I appreciated my cancer experience for how it has shaped me, and this still remains true. These feelings of appreciation towards an experience which has given me so much to be grateful for, in no way correlate to my feelings towards the disease itself.

Cancer is a mosquito in my life. It isn’t a mosquito that you would find outside, but rather the kind you would find in your house. You know the one. You might hear it buzzing every once in a while, and you might wake up with a bite, but you never really see it. There’s no citronella candle that will get rid of this mosquito. You’ve resigned to the fact that you’ll just have to sit and wait for it to disappear. You hope it will disappear. Just when you think it’s gone, you hear it buzz in your ear – taunting you.

This mosquito has bitten me twice, but has been buzzing in my ear for a lifetime. It buzzed when my grandfather passed away from lung cancer and when my mother was treated for breast cancer. It buzzed in high school when my neighbor passed away from leukemia and when my favorite teacher’s son received a diagnosis. It has continued to buzz as friends have come to me with their family members’ cancer diagnoses. This bug buzzed again last summer when, in a span of a month and a half, I was forced to say goodbye to another cherished neighbor, a beloved teacher, and the dear parent of an old friend. Most recently, it has come flying by as one of my professors received a diagnosis.

This mosquito is the reason I’m participating in 4K for Cancer. It is for these people, who have been affected or lost. I 4K for their families and friends, as well as my own. I hope that one day there will be a citronella candle, a cure, to get rid of this unwelcomed pest. Until then, I hope you will consider donating to 4K for Cancer as a way of helping someone in their fight against cancer.


Please help me support Ulman Foundation by making a contribution to my fundraiser and sharing this page with your family and friends. Every dollar I raise will advance Ulman Foundation's great cause! Additionally, you can ask me how you can get involved too.
Together, we can make a difference!


Each year more than 72,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Young adults (ages 15-39) face a variety of unique challenges with a cancer diagnosis including social isolation, fertility preservation, insurance concerns, delayed diagnosis, and survivorship.

The Ulman Foundation changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. With your support, Ulman is able to provide free services and resources for the young adult cancer community through programs that focus on patient support services, housing, survivorship, and scholarship. Learn more about young adult cancer and our impact here.


raised of $5,500 goal

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