Ability Center college scholarship recipient
The Ohio State University, Nursing
My professional goals are driven by my life experiences and triumph over the disease that has tried to take so much from me and has robbed me of some of life's advantages that most people take for granted. Cancer struck me at the age of 2 and attacked my brain at an alarming rate and required immediate resection of the tumor followed by the long and highly aggressive Head Start protocol.
I won that battle but it forever changed my life as I permanently lost a percentage of my hearing, requiring me to wear hearing aids since the age of 3. For 9 years, every aspect of my life was challenged as I forged ahead tenaciously to prove that my cancer would not define me. In 2012, I was struck again with a major blow of cancer, a second primary cancer that is very rare that required the reconstruction of the right side of my face. The procedure was done perfectly by a fantastic skull/base team at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in Manhattan. This presented a whole new set of challenges as I had to persevere past the psychological impacts to my self-esteem and self-worth. Through the grace of phenomenal physicians, medical support
personnel, and their strong beliefs, I have become the exception in a long list of morbid statistics. I have worked very hard to not let cancer define me but in fact it is what makes me who I am today - a survivor of faith. For the last 20 years, I aim to serve others in ways that others cannot because I have lived it, I have overcome it, and I have the compassion for all those that are in need of love, care, and understanding. This is what drives me everyday as I continue to grow and strive to be the best person I can possibly be.
Cancer is the impetus of my disability, hearing, motor skills, and cognitive challenges but it is also what sets me apart from others. I have persevered and become stronger than I ever could have without my challenges. By no fault of my own, I have become an inspiration to others and have become a champion to those that fear a world without normal hearing or other mobility challenges. I am truly blessed for what I have overcome and as I continue my second year of nursing school at The Ohio State University. I come closer to my dream of compassionately working with others and sharing my story with those that are in need of healing both physically and mentally. This scholarship is instrumental in helping me achieve that goal.