Childhood Cancer Survivors Across the Country Win College Scholarships From The National Children’s Cancer Society

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Forty-one college-bound childhood cancer survivors around the country have been awarded scholarships totaling $141,750 from The National Children’s Cancer Society’s (NCCS) Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program. The program provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer.

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“We want every survivor to have the support and tools they need to thrive, and for many of them, college is a lifelong dream that we can help fulfill,” said Mark Stolze, president and CEO of the NCCS

Forty-one college-bound childhood cancer survivors around the country have been awarded scholarships totaling $141,750 from The National Children’s Cancer Society’s (NCCS) Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program. The program provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer. The scholarships help young adult survivors achieve their educational goals so they can pursue their personal and professional dreams.

For 20-year-old Neha Kundagrami, the scholarship means the difference between going to college stressed about loans and how she’ll pay for those after graduation, and going to college without worrying and being able to fully enjoy the experience. “My cancer treatment had taken a lot out of my family financially,” said the University of Maryland student. “I applied for around 25 scholarships that are given to cancer patients, and the NCCS was the only one that helped me out.” She added that college also helped her connect with other survivors her age, further enriching her college experience.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, a fitting time for the students to receive the scholarships and a reminder to everyone who knows a child with cancer that their future is bright, and help is available for their journey.

Scholarship applicants must be childhood cancer survivors living in the United States, under the age of 25 and diagnosed before the age of 18. The program is open to all childhood cancer survivors who currently attend or plan to attend an institution of higher learning.

“We want every survivor to have the support and tools they need to thrive, and for many of them, college is a lifelong dream that we can help fulfill,” said Mark Stolze, president and CEO of the NCCS. “We are very proud of these young people for overcoming the challenge of cancer and pursing their dreams, and we are honored to help make that happen.”

In addition to financial help, the NCCS provides opportunities for recipients to connect and engage with one another. For example, the organization initiates a monthly topic via an email thread – such as study habits, the challenges of college life, and the benefits of volunteering – and students share their thoughts, encourage one another and help one other solve problems. The NCCS requires the students to do community service as a condition of their scholarship. Many of them participate in the organization’s mentoring program, where they serve as a friend and role model to a younger survivor, providing encouragement to the child during and after treatment.

“The scholarship program provides a community that not only brings young adult survivors together but also gives the NCCS a better understanding of how we can support them,” said Pam Gabris, Beyond the Cure coordinator for the NCCS.

What’s extremely encouraging, added Gabris, is that most of the scholarship recipients are studying for careers that will allow them to help children with cancer, in fields such as medicine, education and psychology.
To date, the scholarship program has awarded more than $650,000 in scholarship money to childhood cancer survivors throughout the country. The NCCS is extremely grateful to the Englehardt Family Foundation, the Energizer Charitable Trust and the BNSF Railway for their generous support of the program. This year’s scholarship winners span the country and will attend a diverse group of schools in the 2015-2016 academic year. They are:

Englehardt Scholars                 Hometown                             School attending 2015-16
Caitlin Adkins                             Norton, VA                              University of Virginia
Emmanuel Agyemang              Savannah, GA                        University of Georgia
Jessica Allen                                 Concord, CA                           Saint Mary's College of California
Cara Antonaccio                        Long Valley, NJ                     Penn State University
Rachael Avery                            Charleston, SC                       College of Charleston
Rachel    Barclay                           Orem, UT                                Utah Valley University
Natasha Bear                             Marietta, GA                           The George Washington University
Olivia Bliven                                Magnolia, TX                          University of Houston
Harrison Bond                           New Orleans, LA                     Vanderbilt University
Lenn Brown                                Rockaway, NJ                        Syracuse University
Montana Brown                        Thomasville, GA                     Georgia Regents University
Dean Brownworth                     Merrick, NY                             University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Farah Contractor                      Churchville, PA                       University of Pennsylvania
Amber Dixon                             Manito, IL                                 University of Illinois
Helena Exeni                             Dalton, GA                                University of West Georgia
Virginia Finigan-Carter                Randolph Center, VT              Eckerd College
Tyler Galvelis                            Holland, PA                              University of Pittsburgh
Kristen    Glavee                           San Ramon, CA                      Azusa Pacific University
Neha Kundagrami                    Bethesda, MD                          University of Maryland, College Park
Melinda Marchiano                 Nipomo, CA                               Pepperdine University
Brian Moore                             Cincinnati, OH                           Manhattan School of Music
Nishant Mysore                       Freehold, NJ                              University of California - San Diego
Lacey O'Neal                            Virginia Beach, VA                    Drexel University
Gabriella Palasthy                   Chesapeake, VA                       Virginia Commonwealth University
Sarah Pierce                            Providence, RI                           Brown University
Halle Redfearn                         Laguna Beach, CA                   University of California - Berkeley
Adam Rose                               Shelby Twp, MI                        Kettering University
Shoshana Rudin                      Madison, WI                              University of Chicago
Clarissa Schilstra                    Ellicott City, MD                        Duke University
Benjamin Seeley                      Tustin, CA                                 Chapman University
Riley Steiner                              Dublin, OH                                Miami University
Megan Tapp                             Dexter, MN                               University of Minnesota Duluth College of Pharmacy
Sophia    Tilley                            Benton, AR                               Arkansas Tech University
Lily Upp                                     Berkley, MI                                 University of Michigan
Cecilia Wang                            Beaverton, OR                          Robert D. Clark Honor's College
Kane Weinberg                        Trenton, IL                                  Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Energizer Scholars                  Hometown                                 School attending 2015-16
JoAnn Chung                           Holland, OH                                University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Kodi Jones                               Battlefield, MO                           Ozarks Technical Community College
William Weishaar                    Webster Groves, MO                    Missouri University of Science &                                             Technology

BNSF Scholars                         Hometown                                    School attending 2015-16
Jenna Heim                              Simi Valley, CA                          California State University-Northridge
Carolyn Hudson                       Leawood, KS                             Oklahoma State University-Stillwater

About the NCCS
The mission of The National Children's Cancer Society is to provide emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors. To learn more about the NCCS and its support services, visit thenccs.org. The National Children’s Cancer Society is a 501C(3) organization that has provided more than $61 million in direct financial assistance to more than 36,000 children with cancer. To contact the NCCS, call (314) 241-1600. You can also visit the NCCS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thenccs.

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Lori Millner
The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS)
since: 06/2010
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