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Our 2020 scholarship program

Our 2019 Scholarship Gold Winner - Emily W. - University of Michigan Medical School - Read Essay »

What does it take to fight cancer?

I am a cancer survivor. But not so long ago, I was in a very dire situation with a hopeless diagnosis. I had drains and incisions under both arms. They had to cut through muscles and tissue to retrieve all of my lymph nodes. My pain medication made me sick, and my improvements seemed very slow. Because of vomiting and nausea, I did not want to eat much of anything. This caused me to become very weak and even pass out a few times. I stayed positive because I hoped that surgery would be the end of my battle.

Summer 2017, I noticed a suspicious black mole on the back of my right thigh. At the first medical examination, the doctor said it could just look like a mole with anomalies but not necessarily melanoma. After a dermatoscopy and skin biopsy, I went back to the hospital for results. A dermatologist and a special nurse told me I have melanoma and spoke to me answering all my questions for about an hour.

There have been so many details, surgeries, hospital visits and treatments that it would take me more time than I have right now to write, but in summary, February 2018 I met with a melanoma surgeon. At this time, I was staged at IIIB. The surgery removed several lymph nodes and those lymph nodes were sent to a pathologist. After my surgery and follow-up appointment with my surgeon, it was determined that I was ‘cancer-free’. I started immunotherapy treatments as prevention. Unlike chemotherapy which kills everything, immunotherapy heightens your own immune system and is then able to attack cancer.

As I began treatment, both surgery and chemotherapy, I was more worried about my mom than I was about myself. She raised me alone, so we developed an indescribably close bond with one other. She is a mother, a friend. She is everything to me. She keeps me strong. My mom stood by me throughout the arduous fight against cancer, never once faltering. She helped me with the dirty work like changing my bandages. She made me promise to never give up and we keep assuring each other that we will fight this battle together. And she hugged me, as I tighten. There is something unmistakable about a mother’s hug. It’s warm and nurturing and usually comes at the exact moment when you need it most, but never realized how bad.

I knew basically nothing about melanoma before I was diagnosed but I have learned more about medicine than I ever wanted and I think I have a calling to help inspire those in the same situation as me to keep fighting. Now, as a grateful patient in remission, I am making slow and steady steps to get back to where I was before, and that is something to be proud of so I decided I wanted to put myself back in a situation in which I could help people recover and make them healthy. I was accepted into a medical school and enrolled in an educational program in medicine with the goal of becoming a physician. My personal mission is to share my eye-opening experience and empower others with the wisdom I’ve gained.

Emily W. - University of Michigan Medical School

Our 2019 Scholarship Silver Winner - Brad H. - Berkeley University of California - Read Essay »

What does it take to fight cancer?

My brother Sam was 22 years old when began having severe itching and unexplained weight loss. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Sam’s diagnosis came as a massive shock to my family. He began six months of grueling chemotherapy, three months of radiation and surgery that resulted in the removal of his spleen, appendix, and several lymph nodes. All the while, my brother continued to play water polo, sometimes more than one game in a day. He wasn't going to let cancer slow his life down. He used to say: ‘cancer messed with the wrong man’.

With the support of my amazing family and physicians, he found the strength to pick himself up and fight cancer but unfortunately, the battle is far from over. This April was told it had gone into remission. I love my brother more than anything in this world and it's breaking my heart that I'm going to lose him. Unfortunately, he has to watch from a hospital bed as his friends, family, and the college experience all seemed to be moving on without him. Although his career has been put on pause, and his determination has shifted to focus on getting strong enough to beat cancer, he is still passionate about pursuing his career dreams. Today, I am enrolled as a junior about to obtain my bachelor’s degree. My mom quit her job to stay at the hospital with Sam through his treatment, and my dad works extra to compensate for the loss of income. I found a job on the night shift at Amazon as a packer from midnight to 7 a.m. so I could attend college during the day. I plan to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science because it offers me the opportunity of analyzing the effects that humans have on our environment and the plants and animals that populate it. This is my way of making a positive contribution to the world. It takes a lot to fight cancer, but we come from a family of fighters, we never gave up. We believe anything is possible with faith, support and a positive attitude. Thus, the strength it takes to fight our battle never disappears even grows stronger.

Brad H., Berkeley University of California

Our 2019 Scholarship Bronze Winner - Courtney B. - Stanford University - Read Essay »

What does it take to fight cancer?

I am constantly in awe of mom’s strengths and the way she led our family even in the most difficult times, and how she took care of us when she only expected a few years to live. Two years ago, my mother was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The shock of the moment is indescribable. I was terrified. I felt my world spinning. Her diagnosis changed the whole dynamic of our family. Chemo and recovering became the main focus of our lives. As an only child, I didn’t have anyone around me to speak to who would understand my situation so I held back how I was feeling for fear that seeing me upset or scared would make her feel worse. I always thought that God has given too much responsibility to mom to lead and invest in their family’s faith and courage. For my mom, courage was sitting through chemotherapy though it was exhausting, going in for radiation, though it burned. I know that she struggled, but she did not surrender to her fear and never complained.

Last year, my beautiful mom underwent a double mastectomy and tissue flap reconstruction. The breast reconstruction procedure uses tissue from other parts of the body to rebuild the breast shape. She took the decision to use her own body tissue over breast implants. The two procedures were done at the same time and the surgery was over 13 hours long. She stayed in intensive care for almost a week to recover. My beautiful mom is a worrier. She continues to smile every day and though I know how tired she really feels. For her, life is worth fighting, as it’s a precious gift from God. My mom’s cancer really reminded me of what matters. It reminds me to be present, to appreciate family, and most of all, to be thankful for the little things. Throughout her recovery, my mother kept a positive attitude, which encouraged me to not lose sight of my goals. I continued to focus on my future and work for higher education, as her dream is to finish college and obtain a degree. I know you can help me fulfill this dream and make my mom proud of me!

Courtney B. - Stanford University

Gold WinnerThe winner will receive funds from our asbestos scholarship fund to help them as financial aid.

$5,000 for
scholarship fund

Silver WinnerThe winner will receive funds from our asbestos scholarship fund to help them as financial aid.

$3,000 for
scholarship fund

Bronze WinnerThe winner will receive funds from our asbestos scholarship fund to help them as financial aid.

$2,000 for
scholarship fund

Why are we offering the scholarship to students affected by cancer?

We are aware of how profoundly a cancer diagnosis affects the family dynamics and the emotional well being of each family member. Everything changes in a family when someone gets a cancer diagnosis. Parents have to quit jobs and focus on treatment and the family's income decreases drastically. Our goal is to support a student with a family connection to cancer continue his/her education. For this reason, we have decided to offer a little help to young people who witnessed a loved one’s devastating struggle with cancer in order to ease at least their financial situation.

"Our firm founder's father suffered from an asbestos-related disease and many members of our staff share the traumatizing experience of standing by a family member who battled cancer."
Greg Cade current owner at Environmental Litigation Group P.C.

Awarded over $2.5 million in our asbestos scholarship fund

Our asbestos scholarship fund was established over 50 years ago with the purpose of providing financial help to children and grandchildren of our clients whose asbestos litigation cases had been settled. Over 160 students receiving the asbestos scholarships have attended 47 colleges and universities, including Auburn University, University of Alabama, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Stillman College, Spelman College, and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In 2005 we extended the eligibility requirements to include all students who have a family member diagnosed with cancer.

2020 scholarship application

All students must apply online ONLY by July 31, 2019, do NOT call or email, all applications are received online through the form below. The winners will be notified by the end of August 2020 and their essays will also be published on this page.

*The essay must be between 500 and 1,500 words.

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