When Doug Ulman was diagnosed with cancer last fall at age 19, the former Howard County high school soccer star discovered that help wasn't easy to find.
"I went to one support group, and it was full of 60-year-old lung cancer patients," Ulman says. "Then I went to another one, and it was all 11-year-old kids. I just didn't fit into either group."
So Ulman -- now 20 and a junior at Brown University, where he is on the varsity soccer squad and studying history and education -- decided to do something about that, both as therapy for himself and as a service to others.
With the help of his family, he founded the Ulman Fund of the Wellness Community, Baltimore -- to provide information available to other young cancer patients.
The Wellness Community, Baltimore is part of a national charity that provides free support services to cancer patients and their families, according to the Ulman family.
To raise money for the fund, the Ulman family is holding a fund-raiser at Pimlico Race Course tonight, featuring guest speakers and a silent auction. The event originally was scheduled for Saturday.
About 250 people are committed to attending at $100 a ticket, according to Diana Ulman, Doug's mother. The family lives in Columbia's Dorsey Search village.
Guests include Andy Barth from Channel 2 news and Chuck Thompson, the Orioles announcer. Then a silent auction -- including Orioles sports memorabilia -- will be held.
"I've been friends with the family for a long time," Barth says. "I think he's a great kid who's taken a bad break and made something positive of it. I just hope it [the fund-raiser] will be helpful."
The money in the fund, Doug Ulman says, also will help pay for a pamphlet he is putting together that would be given to young adults when they learn they have cancer.
In it, he advises patients how to find out more about cancer, deal with their emotions and talk to doctors and family members.
He also says that the committee plans to set up an interactive Web site, in which "the person can enter their name, age and other personal information and meet other people in similar situations."
He wants to donate some of the money raised by the fund to patients who cannot afford cancer treatments.
Doctors last August discovered a tumor on Ulman's rib, one later diagnosed as chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Doctors since have found a number of malignant melanomas, or skin cancers, on his chest and arms.
The chondrosarcoma was removed last fall, along with a large part of Ulman's rib, but the melanomas are still being treated.
Ulman has to have examinations every three months to make sure the chondrosarcoma doesn't reappear.
A standout in Howard County soccer, Doug was on The Sun's 1994 All-Metro team. He had eight goals during his senior season while playing for the state champion team from Ellicott City's Centennial High School, including two goals in a state semifinal victory.
He was forced to miss a good part of his sophomore soccer season at Brown because of the numerous trips he had to make from Rhode Island back home for his surgery and checkups.
Through it all, Ulman says, he's been sustained by the support he's received from former high school teachers and classmates at Centennial High, as well as teammates on the Brown soccer team.
"I'm still playing soccer and I'm looking forward to next season," Ulman says. "The coach, my teammates and the entire athletic department have been amazing.
"One of my best friends up at school now is a guy on the football team who also had cancer," he says. "It just really helps to have someone to talk to as you're working through this."
After the Associated Press ran a story on him, Ulman received calls from all over the country.
"Some were letters of encouragement while others contained donations," Ulman says. "I'm still getting five or six every day from folks I've never even met. It makes me realize just how many people are affected" by cancer.
Pub Date: 6/17/97