The National Children’s Cancer Society Awards College Scholarships to Childhood Cancer Survivors

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and a fitting time to announce The National Children’s Cancer Society’s new class of Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipients.

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These young people are courageous and resilient. We want to do everything we can to help them attain that goal and pursue their careers

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and a fitting time to announce The National Children’s Cancer Society’s new class of Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipients. From across the country, forty childhood cancer survivors receiving the scholarship will have one less thing to worry about as they head off to college. The program helps to ease the financial burdens of obtaining a degree so they can be one step closer to achieving their goals.

“College is a goal for many childhood cancer survivors,” said Mark Stolze, President and CEO of the NCCS. “These young people are courageous and resilient. We want to do everything we can to help them attain that goal and pursue their careers.”

First time applicants are required to write an essay about what survivorship means to them. Scholarship recipients are also required to volunteer their time and share their experiences with families affected by a childhood cancer diagnosis. Most recently, recipient Madelyn Giegling spoke at the Beyond the Cure Health Fair for childhood cancer survivors in St. Louis, MO.

“By sharing my story… I truly just wanted to reach out to people who are currently struggling in the battle against cancer,” she said. “I wanted to give [families] a reason to believe in the strength of their child, no matter how many odds are stacked up against them.”

Nineteen year-old Madelyn currently attends Truman State University as a sophomore in the nursing program and is a two-time Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipient. She hopes to become a pediatric nurse practitioner in oncology, using her own experience as a childhood cancer survivor to help kids just like her. At only two years-old, she was diagnosed with a rare tumor known as ganglioneuroblastoma. She’s been in remission since childhood, but still careful monitors her health with annual checkups.

Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to fulfill their volunteer work requirement through the NCCS’ mentoring program, which pairs a scholarship recipient with a child currently in treatment. “The scholarship recipients become a knowledgeable and experienced guide, trusted ally and caring role model for a child in treatment,” said Patient and Family Services Coordinator Jessica Cook. “They show these kids there really is life after cancer.”

Madelyn chose to fulfill her volunteer hours through the NCCS’ mentoring program, offering support and guidance to her mentee while they were in treatment.

“The NCCS has helped me more ways than just financial aid,” she said. “Being a mentor taught me how to be creative to bring a glimpse of joy into my mentee's life. I am so thankful that the NCCS has given me this opportunity to grow and help others while doing it. It truly is the best of both worlds.”

In addition to scholarships, the Beyond the Cure Program focuses on life after treatment. The program helps educate survivors on the issues they may face, sponsors survivorship conferences across the country and gives survivors the opportunity to connect with each other. The program also offers a Late Effects After Treatment Tool (LEATT). that provides a personal summary of potential late effects to survivors.

“They are some pretty amazing young adults and they have a very positive impact on the organization,” said Pam Gabris, Beyond the Cure Coordinator.

Since the scholarship program’s inception, $1 million has been awarded to childhood cancer survivors attending college. The NCCS is most grateful to Centene Corporation and the Englehardt Family Foundation for their generous support of the program.

The 2017-2018 scholarship recipients are from numerous states and will collectively attend 36 universities across the country. They are as follows:

Centene Scholars

  •     Olivia Bliven    Magnolia, TX    University of Texas Medical Branch
  •     Madelyn Giegling    St. Louis, MO    Truman State University
  •     Nicole Guenther    Billings, MT    Washington University
  •     Kodi Jones    Ozark, MO    Missouri State University
  •     William Weishaar    Webster Groves, MO    Missouri University of Science & Technology
  •     John Worm    Grand Rapids, MI    Grand Valley State University

Englehardt Scholars

  •     William Brennan     Mt. Sinai, NY    Stony Brook University
  •     Lenn Brown    Rockaway, NJ    Syracuse University
  •     Carly Chapman    Zionsville, IN    Marian University, College of Osteopathic Med.
  •     Farah Contractor    Churchville, PA    University of Pennsylvania
  •     Olivia Diddlebock    Denver, CO    Indiana University at Bloomington
  •     Virginia Finigan-Carter    Randolph Center, VT    Eckerd College
  •     Kristen Glavee    San Ramon, CA    Azusa Pacific University
  •     Mikaella Granzen    Princeton, NJ    Wesleyan University
  •     Esther Gritsko    Scottsville, VA    University of Virginia
  •     Luke Hertzler    Harrisonburg, VA    Hesston College
  •     Morgan Matthews    Grantsville, UT    University of Utah
  •     Nishant Mysore     San Diego, CA    University of California, San Diego
  •     Abigail Neibert    South Holland, IL    North Park University
  •     Kevin Nguyen    Moorpark, CA    University of California, Los Angeles
  •     Grace Padilla    Prescott, AZ    Westminster College of Salt Lake City
  •     Gabriella Palasthy    Virginia Beach, VA    Old Dominion University
  •     Vanessa Perez    Sheboygan, WI    Florida State University
  •     Ashley Persson    Winchester, CA    California State University
  •     Sarah Pierce    Stanford, CA    Stanford University
  •     Halle Redfearn    Laguna Beach, CA    University of California, Berkeley
  •     Rebecca Schuck     Cherry Hill, NJ    Thomas Jefferson University
  •     Cassidy Scruggs    Happy Valley, OR    Grand Canyon University
  •     Benjamin Seeley     Tustin, CA    Chapman University
  •     Daniel Shank-Rowe    Centreville, VA    Virginia Tech
  •     Riley Steiner    Dublin, OH    Miami University
  •     Catherine Terry    Santa Clara, CA    Occidental College
  •     Sophia Tilley    Benton, AR    Arkansas Tech University
  •     Kaylee Troxel    Jackson, TN    Union University
  •     Lily Upp    Berkley, MI    University of Michigan
  •     Jacob Waldron    Lebanon, PA    Syracuse University
  •     Cecilia Wang    Beaverton, OR    Robert D. Clark Honor’s College
  •     Bethany Wells    Cedar Hills, UT    Brigham Young University
  •     Megan Wynne    Clementon, NJ    Brigham Young University

About The National Children’s Cancer Society

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 over $63 million in direct financial assistance to more than 40,000 children with cancer. To contact the NCCS, call (314) 241-1600. You can also find the NCCS on Facebook and Twitter.

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Lori Millner
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