Cancer Survivor Soars with NCCS Beyond the Cure Scholarship
Kane Weinberg found out he had cancer at 17-years-old. Instead of planning the big dreams he had for his future, Kane found himself dealing with the challenges of an acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) diagnosis. Unlike his peers who were dealing with starting college, Kane had to coordinate his treatment for ALL as he was entering engineering school at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana, far from his home and treatment center.
As Kane looked toward his college career with less enthusiasm than he would have hoped, the secretary at his high school mentioned her friend worked for The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) and they gave college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors. He immediately got in touch with the NCCS and applied for a NCCS Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship program.
“The scholarship was a big positive boost for me at a really challenging time in my life. When I applied for the scholarship, I was just finishing up my heavy chemo treatments, and I was in a precarious mental state: worrying about my future health, feeling sorry for myself and overall just seeing the glass half empty. However, the fact that people were willing to donate to the cause of educating young adult cancer survivors was incredibly motivating to me. There are a lot of great causes people can choose to donate to, but these people were putting their resources toward us (me), and it drove me to want to show them that their ‘investment’ paid off,” said Kane.
The scholarship program connected Kane to the NCCS’ worthy mission and to his peers in a variety of ways. He found great meaning through giving back to the NCCS community by writing a blog on survivorship issues, recruiting schools to participate in the Sun Day-Fun Day program, reviewing educational materials for a variety of NCCS initiatives, being part of an NCCS video shoot at his school and participating in the monthly email thread. “The email thread was my favorite part of the scholarship program. Knowing other people were going through the same issues gave us all a sense of togetherness.” Kane said.
Kane currently resides in Ohio and has a checkup with his oncologist in Cincinnati every six months. He feels facing the heartache of cancer shaped his priorities in a profound way. Kane began to value his health, relationships, free time and independence above all else. Like so many survivors, he knew he would only find fulfillment in his career if it was a position contributing toward a common good. Kane said, “Any desire that I may have had in the past for a prestigious career, climbing up the corporate ladder has been washed away. A quote I came across a few years ago stuck with me, ‘even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat’.”
He advises other childhood cancer survivors to research scholarship opportunities but also to simply talk to the people around you. Kane believes networking is a great way to discover new opportunities since he wouldn’t have heard about the NCCS scholarship program without word-of-mouth connections.
The Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship helped Kane move forward with his life and reach his goals and he now has an exciting position in the aerospace industry. “It is satisfying to know the products I work on enable people to safely travel long distances quickly, which gives them more opportunities to spend time with family, or experience new places and cultures.”
Kane is proud of what he’s accomplished, but is even prouder of his network of genuine friends, a great girlfriend and a loving family who are all there for him, no matter what.