Each year, we award scholarships to childhood cancer survivors and young adults currently in treatment. Our foundation believes in young adults who have overcome adversity and are striving to achieve their academic dreams. Childhood cancer survivors inspire us with their resiliency and tenacity, and the Inspire Scholarship is one way that we can support them as they move forward through adulthood.
At the 2019 Inspire Scholarship Ceremony, David Wise, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist skier, presented about conquering what life brings. He has had physical and emotional peaks and valleys throughout his career, but he realized that his support system was essential as he celebrated his successes or overcame failures. Similar to the community that rallies behind a child with cancer, his team, the people around him that supported him, always had his back.
“You guys each have a team and you have a new weapon, you have overcome or you are overcoming this incredibly difficult adversity but on the other side you’re going to be stronger because of it,” Wise said.
Our Inspire Scholarship program awarded scholarships to 21 childhood cancer survivors and young adults currently in treatment. Through generous grants and sponsors, the program supports young adults affected by childhood cancer in achieving their dreams through higher education. Since the program started in 2012, we have awarded $416,000 in scholarships to survivors, and the funds have been applied to many fields of study from universities and colleges to vocational and technical schools.
One of the Inspire Scholarship recipients, Haley, is striving to become an oncology nurse. Through her cancer journey, she experienced pain, surgery, recovery and joy. She was moved by the idea of helping children in the same way nurses helped her through the good and the bad, “I would like to inspire others by being someone they can look to in times of need,” she said.
After completing treatment, Haley dedicated her studies to help other children affected by cancer. She recently celebrated her acceptance into the Orvis School of Nursing for the fall of 2019 and shared her joy on social media stating, “All of the hard work has paid off. God truly does have a plan and there is a light at the end of every tunnel. I can’t wait to begin this journey and be one step closer to helping kids with cancer.”
Wise spoke of an analogy that helped him through his life and career – He compared overcoming adversity to building a jump. Adversity represents the blocks of snow made out of all the hard stuff, which builds up to create the foundation of a ramp. “What I love about that [analogy] is that everything that you survived or that your family has survived or someone close to you has survived just becomes another block you can build your jump out of,” said Wise. “And the more blocks you build, the more blocks your jump has in it, the greater your trajectory.”
Wise wrapped up the ceremony with words that exemplify the accomplishments of these survivors as they step into a different journey in life and build their own careers. Wise said, “There’s nothing I’m more excited about than telling you guys that because of what you’ve been through you can accomplish more than anybody else. I just want to empower you guys with that message and I want to thank you for your journey because it’s important and it’s powerful.”
With every scholarship we give, we know that a child with cancer has more opportunity to learn and reach higher dreams. To use his metaphor, we know that these survivors have earned every block carved out through their journey with cancer. And yet, we are grateful we can help propel them forward to achieve greater things.
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A special thank you to the donors who directly support this program: Charles H. Stout Foundation, Charles Mathewson Foundation, DiRienzo Foundation, Jet Nevada Fulfillment Center, the Trowbridge Family, the LeSourd Family, U.S. Bank, Morgan Stanley for Leonard Wohletz, and Wood Rodgers.