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Scholarship Winners

Darby Walker – CHSCF Scholarship Winner 2017

Darby’s Story

My life has been forever altered by my cancer diagnosis, it put an entirely new mountain to be scaled in front of me. My new base was one I was not well equipped for, and it portrayed itself as one of the hardest endeavors I could ever possibly experience. For me, my base was adjusting to my new life with cancer. I had to put a halt to my former life, goals, and dreams to commit all my energy towards my battle with cancer. This is how my new base came along, and the beginning of my climb to my new summit. Once I began to adjust my life I knew that I had to establish for myself a new vision to reach, a summit to continue climbing towards. So that’s exactly what I did, and my new summit was colored green and white with the strongest mascot I can imagine. My newest summit was to be accepted to the college of my dreams, Michigan State University, and go into their nursing program. This became my newest summit for a variety of reasons, including their phenomenal nursing program, their breath-taking campus and the fact that the Michigan State University Pediatric Oncology program saved my life. Since I received all of my treatments at Sparrow Hospital that works in partnership with the MSU pediatric oncology program, they helped me realize that I have so much to offer in my life with the talents, wisdom, and gratitude I have gained. That I can turn my cancer diagnosis into something honorable; to help those whose shoes I was once in. Furthermore, I propose to go into Michigan State University and become a Nurse Practioner, who specializes in pediatric oncology. I want to help others, so that no child is left feeling alone or scared. In my life I want to make a purposeful change, and that is a summit I will never stop trying to achieve.

Shayne Lindquist – CHSCF Scholarship Winner 2017

This past year, I was having an amazing experience at Central Michigan University in my sophomore year. I was enjoying my classes, getting involved in ROTC and began playing division 2 club hockey. This could be considered my old base, but I began to find a new base halfway through my hockey season with I started to notice my vision was a little odd; I was noticing that when I looked a certain way it became distorted or double. But being the stubborn person I waited until after my hockey season and until I got back from an Army competition out of state to get them checked. In February, I got an MRI and found the tumor, then a couple days later I was at U of M being diagnosed with brain cancer. In March I received a brain biopsy and since then, I have begun my first two chemo rounds and will follow that with radiation. This is my current base.

My summit is a very optimistic one, as it had been before I was diagnosed. However, it includes a new outlook on life and has given me a new feeling of strength and willpower. This feeling started immediately after I was diagnosed when I told myself: “of course this would happen to me, it makes sense this way.” This isn’t a pessimistic view on the situation, but rather optimistic because I believe that if I want to reach all the challenging goals I set for myself in life, I need to be able to overcome any and every obstacle I face. What better challenge to face than one of this magnitude, to prove to myself that I am as strong and capable as I believe? My goals for life start with graduating from college with degrees in International Relations and Law of Economics, then receiving my commission as an officer into the Army. I’m striving to become an infantry platoon leader and I hope to stay in the military long enough for a retirement, but I don’t plan to spend the whole time on active duty. I would return to the reserves, which is what I am currently in, and obtain a job in federal law enforcement. Furthermore, I plan to apply for some internships occurring next summer in the federal law enforcement field, including the FBI, DEA, or Secret Service.

I have a long and difficult summit ahead of me, but I know I can reach the top following this minor bump in the road. This experience so far, has given me a new and more powerful outlook on life. I have found a new sense of self-strength and optimism in myself, which I will use to reach for the top of my summit.

Mallory Walker – CHSCF Scholarship Winner 2016

Cassie Hines Junior YearMy Testimony Towards Reaching My Summit:

I was always focused on my improvements in my life. That has always been my base. The effect of being diagnosed with cancer made my new base more motivational towards reaching my summit. Upon my diagnoses I was currently in school reaching my most important goal, which was making it into the Mortuary Science Program.
During my treatment I didn’t let anything stop me. Even though I had to take a medical leave from school, I still attended my interview for Mortuary school. This was a big eye-opener for me to push forward and be determined. Losing my father to lung cancer in 2013 was my first test, then not five months later I found out that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My base was being affected tremendously, but I didn’t realize I was being set up to reach my summit.
This was something new to me that was totally unexpected and I honestly was nervous about my outcome. After awhile I gained more motivation through the support from family and friends to keep pushing forward through good spirit. I went through a process of losing my hair and being unable to perform certain functions of daily operation. I didn’t let this effect me because I let my spirit to overlook the negative and insert the positive for my future benefit. Upon my closing months towards the end things got harder. I didn’t want to attend chemotherapy nor did I want to accompany myself around others. My judgment day finally came and everything was finally over I then received my results in the moth of October. My successful results caused me to leave the Cancer Institute in tears of joy and I knew I had a new base to cover in order to reach my summit.
My nest step of operation was removing my port out of my chest and I kept it for significance of reminder of my journey. Before I finished treatment, I enrolled back in the school. In the month of June I had a second interview where I was accepted into Mortuary school on the spot. Things begin to look up in my favor. Currently, I am attending the Wayne State University Mortuary Science Program. School has become a part of my every day process and I’m focused on becoming a successful Funeral Director. I plan to be, in the next five years, done with school and working in my career field. This process has been a journey and I have fought a good fight with determination of not giving up. Going through my health challenge has been a struggle that I overcame and I didn’t let it get the best of me. Even though cancer is a hard thing to get through it really helped me formulate a stronger plan towards reaching my summit. My testimony is strong and I will one day be able to tell someone my life was tested on the faith of God to see how determined I would be towards reaching my summit. When you want to achieve a goal it’s best to never let anything get in your way nor surround yourself with a negative perspective. I believed in myself and I came through like a champ. The best is yet to come!

Caitlin Sall – CHSCF Scholarship Winner 2016

Cassie HinesTo hear a doctor tell you that you have cancer is one of the most heart-dropping phrases a person can hear. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that phrase three times in the last three and a half years. I never fully understood the limitations that would come with cancer-physically and mentally. After the cancer was gone and I was able to return to normal life, I had to basically start all over. My “base” was and 83lb, bald 17 year-old who had spent more days in the hospital than in school for the past four years. I’m now a year into my climb and my future has never looked so bright. Each day I have little wins. Whether it is I can do more pushups than yesterday, I pushed past chemo brain and remembered something, or even that I could put my hair in a mini ponytail, I know that I’m one step closer to reaching my summit. While I was in treatment my summit was to fight cancer and win. Once I reached that summit, I knew that for my next one the possibilities were endless. If I could defy all the odds of cancer, I can do it in anything else too. Every time I reach one summit, I always find a new one. My summit is to graduate high school in four years, despite being in the hospital for most of it. Next, it’ll be to graduate from college and then to graduate from grad school. I will always have parts of my base with me-the memories, struggles, and the scars but it’s my base that motivates me. Each day I strive to achieve more and more because nothing, especially not cancer, is going to stop me. My ultimate summit, and most ambitious one, is to find the cure to cancer. I know what it’s like to hear the words that are terrifying and unfathomable. I hope to find a cure, so that no one else will ever have to hear that they have cancer again. Each day is one climb further from base and one closer to the summit.

Thank you,
Caitlin

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