A Unique Partnership – Art to Fight Cancer

A few months ago I received an email from Brandon Chalmers who works for an organization called Super Art Fight (SAF). Having never heard of Super Art Fight, I (of course) Googled the organization to find out more. What I found was a very unique approach to art entertainment; think art meets Comic-Con meets a pictionary game show.  From SAF Idol to the Wheel of Death (a audience driven topic generator with timed intervals), the audience is entertained by artists (sometimes dressed as their alter egos) battling each other for artistic superiority as determined by the audience’s cheering enthusiasm.  The best way to experience SAF is to actually see it in action at the Metro Gallery on Saturday, May 19th from Noon until Midnight. The Metro Gallery is located at 1700 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Or if you can’t attend, make a donation here!

After seeing all of this, we enthusiastically accepted SAF’s offer to name The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults as the benefiting charity of the Baltimore Super Art Fest! Then I thought – why did they choose UCF?  There are lots of charitable organizations out there SAF could have selected and I am glad I asked. The posts below speak volumes as to the impact cancer makes in the lives of young adults and how UCF is very much needed to help these young adults by providing support and resources in dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

  • Marty Day, Super Art Fight Host

As one of the most frequently heard voices within Super Art Fight, I’ve come to feel like a face of the organization.  Since our first show in 2008, we’ve strived hard to be one of the most unique live events in the world, giving artists a unique platform to showcase themselves, and to put together an event where the audience feels just as included and as key to the action as every personality that takes the stage.

We’ve had a very lucky run these past few years, and as our fourth birthday started to

Mary Day, Super Art Fight Host Extraordinaire

approach, we knew that we had to give back.  It was just a year ago that I arbitrarily blurted out on stage to the Metro Gallery’s owner, Sarah, that we should try to do a long form event for charity.  Little did I realize that we would be doing one a year later, and for such a great cause.

You might be wondering – why has Super Art Fight picked the cause they have? Why Ulman Cancer Fund?  Let me tell you a little story why.

While on stage I project a whip smart, confident persona, my life has been shaped and formed by a number of difficult situations.  Like many others, my life has been touched by Cancer.  I lost my grandfather to Cancer. I lost an uncle to Cancer.  But two very key people in my life have not only had Cancer, but survived it.

My own mother is a Cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in her early twenties with Thyroid cancer.  She lives on now, decades later (although she’d never want me to share her age), with years of remission behind her.  Another person, very close to me, one of the most important people in my life, now has a number of cancerless years behind her, diagnosed at the young age of 18.

It’s weird how similar their experiences are.  Knocked for a loop with an unexpected fate at a key age in their lives.  Thrown into a fight that not everyone wins.  And what is so weird, and what is such a shame, is they faced the same problems – the alienation one feels when thrust into the fight of literally their lives.  They each felt alone, but in themselves found the strength to lift them up and carry on into good health and a better life.

They’re living wonderful lives now, but as soon as I first heard of the Ulman Cancer Fund, I couldn’t help but wonder how much better their fights could have been with an organization as amazing as UCF behind them.  Ulman Cancer Fund gives young adults effected by cancer an amazing network of fellow patients, survivors and supporters to give them the extra inch they need one of the hardest conflicts of their lives.  They tirelessly support those who have been effected, patient, survivor and supporter alike with free get togethers, college scholarships and a never ending series of classes, meetings and support groups in order to not just make the hard times, but the times of healing as great as they can be.

I’ve seen our audience.  Early twenties, kids in the prime of their lives. And there would be nothing sadder to me than to see one of them have to go into the fight for their lives without someone like Ulman by their side.  Ulman Cancer Fund is doing amazing work, for amazing people, and it’s an honor to dedicate my time, energy and effort in one of the biggest undertakings of my career to support such an organization.  I hope you’re wiling to support them as much as I am.

  • Brandon Chalmers, Super Art Fight Logistics / Referee

Before early last year my experience with people who were fighting cancer was minimal. My girlfriend’s father, Ron Zeman sadly lost his battle with cancer on Friday, May 11th.

 

Brandon’s girlfriend Kelly with her Father Ron Zeman

What started as just esophageal spread to his stomach. He had endured both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Every day I tried to support her and her family while she watched her father fight this force of nature. I never got the opportunity to spend time with him before his diagnosis. When I met him he had already started treatment. I only know the man who wanted nothing more than to see tomorrow. It broke my heart to have seen such a great man have to fight so hard. If I accomplish half of what he has, I would consider myself a success. To hear the stories and how he’s impacted the lives of so many just blows me away. In the short time I’ve known him he has made me a better man. He’s shown me the importance of family. He also reminded me how important it is to stand behind the ones you love, no matter the cost.  He was lucky enough to have been graced with an amazing family and support group. Not all are so lucky…

A few months ago I got the idea of doing a Super Art Fight charity show. I brought up the idea to the rest of the crew and they loved it. It was then that Marty, one of our hosts suggested the Ulman Cancer Fund. I didn’t know anything about UCF. That’s when I found out everything they do for young people who don’t have the support they need. It was a perfect match. Knowing that we can help support UCF and give people our age a fighting chance is more motivation then I’ll ever need. UCF helps give people their lives back. I can’t wait to do everything I can to help. I hope everyone will come see us do what we do best, SAF!  Even if it’s only to support UCF do what they do best.

We are inspired more than ever by his passing to help Ulman do the amazing work they do! Ron always wanted us to celebrate his life and I can’t think of a better way. Please come out and support one of the greatest nonprofits in the world!

  • Samantha Kelly, Super Art Fight & UCF Supporter

First, I want to thank UCF for everything they do, and Super Art Fight, for choosing this wonderful organization to raise funds for. Cancer has touched my life in so many ways and I appreciate everything that cancer organizations do for those they serve and support.

My first experience with cancer came in my early teens when my great aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember how saddened and angry I was upon learning of her

Samantha Kelly introduced UCF to Super Art Fight host, Marty Day

diagnosis, but to comfort myself I would say things like, “she’s older, things like this happen when you get old,” and “it’s her time.” To me, cancer was something that just came with age. Her passing was my first experience with death, and had a pretty big impact on how I understood and approached life.

Many years later, at the age of 18, I’d feel that impact again. I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer) as a sophomore in college. I remember so distinctly how nothing that came after the words “you have cancer” made any sense to me. I didn’t hear a word my doctor said. I spent the rest of my appointment just trying to wrap my head around that sentence. I had cancer at 18 years old. DOES NOT COMPUTE!

I went on to battle cancer three times, over the span of five years. One constant throughout my journey was a feeling of isolation and the search for support. Above all, support from individuals my age. I was given the phone numbers of family friends or friends of friends who were also fighting cancer, but in talking to them I just felt more and more isolated. They were worried about how they were going to support their families and maintain a job. I was worried how on earth I’d find a boyfriend, how to pass my full-time schedule of classes so I could keep my health insurance, and if I’d live long enough to have a family of my own.  I went on to find comfort and support from an online community of cancer survivors, many of them my age. My life was touched by those I met, both virtually and in person, and I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through those five years without those connections.

A few years ago, my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in a unique position, as a daughter who had been in her shoes. I did everything I could to support her, but one of my first suggestions to her was to find a support group of women her age and with her type of cancer. She took my advice, began attending a breast cancer support group, and has even gone on to mentor newly diagnosed patients. My Mom is doing well and is now in remission.

I didn’t learn of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults until after my cancer battle (I’M 5 YEARS CANCER FREE!!!), but the services and support that UCF provides to young adult cancer patients and survivors is just what I was in search during my five year battle. I wish I had learned of it sooner.  I’ve referred many friends and acquaintances to the organization over the past few years. The social opportunities and support services it offers do so much to improve the quality of life of all those who participate.  The love, support and community of a cancer patient or survivor is their foundation and beacon of light.

I hope to work with the organization in the future to give back and, again, I thank them for all that they do. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

About rachelwiederhold

Fun-loving triathlete & former HR guru who decided to give up the corporate gig and follow my heart by helping young adults impacted by cancer.
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3 Responses to A Unique Partnership – Art to Fight Cancer

  1. Pingback: Super Art Fest to Benefit Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. « Healness.

  2. Pingback: Yellow Peril, by Jamie Noguchi - Calming The Storms

  3. Diana Ulman says:

    Thank you so much for selecting the Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults as the beneficiary of your generous donations! – The funds raised by all of you at your SuperArtFight will help UCF continue to support young adults affected by cancer – And I loved seeing the contest going on on Saturday! – It was AWESOME – I am an artist and I thought your event was so much fun! – you pull in so many talented artists and I found it captivating to see them think on their feet so quickly and produce incredible drawings! – thanks for inviting us out – and thanks again for your generosity! – Diana Ulman

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