Meet Our Scholars

years awarded

2023-2024

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Scholar Quote: Cancer helped me to see that I want to help people who are like me, and I have created my career path based on this. With guidance and positivity, I know I can make this goal and idea I was given a reality.

On January 28th, 2008, my life was permanently changed when my doctor delivered the diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia to my mother. I don’t remember much from the treatment, only the constant surrounding of doctors and nurses I had until ultimately, in 2010, I had my last treatment of chemotherapy and went into remission. At the time, this diagnosis seemed like the most devastating and terrible thing that could happen to a child. I was sick all the time, I had no hair, and I was being treated for a deadly disease. My parents saw no good in the situation and only hoped for treatment to be quick and effective, allowing us to continue our lives together. The change in mentality came almost a year later, and it was completely unexpected.

In 2011, I attended Camp Rap-A-Hope for the first time at seven years old. Before leaving, I had no idea what to expect, and it was the first time I had spent more than a few days away from home. I was anxious and felt like I would not fit in with anyone there. The second I arrived, my mind was changed. The staff welcomed me with open arms, and the kids there did too. There were so many people there who were just like me, and I felt at home. I was part of a community that would be with me for the rest of my life.

As soon as I was old enough, I began volunteering for the organization. I wanted other people who were like me to feel welcome, just as I was all those years ago. I would speak on radio shows about the camp and about my experience with cancer, as well as hand out packets and t-shirts for the races the company held as fundraisers. Being more involved in the community helped me to feel like I was doing my part to make a difference in the world of cancer. However, I still didn’t feel like I was doing quite enough. I felt I was meant to go above and beyond for the children who were like me and have struggled with the battle of cancer.

At the beginning of my senior year, I struggled to understand what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to help people, I just didn’t know how. So, l thought about all the different ways the people I know have helped me, and the people who stuck out the most were my Camp Rap-A-Hope volunteers. They have always contributed to something bigger and more important than themselves, but I knew that doing that knew that doesn’t feel like enough. With this thought, I realized I was meant to do something bigger than myself in the world of cancer: I was meant to help fight it.

Now, I am nearing the end of my senior year of high school, and I have been accepted into the University of Alabama at Birmingham to pursue a degree in cancer biology. After this degree is accomplished, I hope to continue my education in medical school and become a pediatric oncologist. Having cancer and being able to be involved in the community around me completely changed the negative perspective I held on my experience with the disease. This perspective change did not simply change a small part of me, it completely changed me. This perspective change became my life goal. Cancer helped me to see that I want to help people who are like me, and I have created my career path based on this. With guidance and positivity, I know I can make this goal and idea I was given a reality.