"The scholarship program provides a real community, one that brings young adult survivors together even if they live in different states and attend different schools..."
In it's ongoing mission to help childhood cancer survivors attain their education and career goals, The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) is offering college scholarships for the 2017-18 school year. The NCCS is a nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer, their families and survivors.
The NCCS Beyond the Cure Scholarship Program will award $3,500 scholarships to 40 eligible students.
Program information and an application can be found on the NCCS website (thenccs.org).
The scholarships are given to childhood cancer survivors who are under the age of 25 and were diagnosed with cancer before the age of 18.
Students must be a United States citizen, live and attend school in the U.S., and must be accepted into a post-secondary school for the 2017 fall semester.
The applications must be postmarked by March 31.
Brigham Young University freshman and childhood cancer survivor Braeden Paskett said his NCCS scholarship was a huge help to his family. "My dad is in the oil and gas industry and it's really been up and down with his jobs for the past 10 years... nothing has been stable," he said. Braeden was diagnosed at 18 months old with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue. His year-long course of treatment included surgery to remove a tumor followed by radiation and chemotherapy. He has been cancer free since his treatment ended.
Braeden's mom discovered the NCCS while helping her son search for scholarships during his senior year of high school. "It's a very heartfelt, touching and uplifting organization," said Braeden.
The scholarship recipients are asked to contribute 15 hours of community service to the NCCS each year. Students can mentor younger children with cancer, help the organization with special events such as conferences for survivors, and support fundraising efforts. Braeden has helped this year by reviewing the NCCS's online Late Effects After Treatment Tool (LEATT), which helps survivors identify possible late effects from their cancer treatment, and writing thank-you letters to donors. He said he'd also like to film a video of his personal story and how the organization has impacted his life for the NCCS to share.
Beyond the Cure Coordinator Pam Gabris said that to help students connect with one another, she sends them a monthly email that poses a question about college life or another common topic so they can share input and ideas. "The scholarship program provides a real community, one that brings young adult survivors together even if they live in different states and attend different schools," Gabris said. The students' participation also helps the NCCS better understand the needs and challenges of college age survivors.
Braeden enjoys participating in the email thread. "It's really cool because you get to hear other people's experiences and we're able to respond back and forth. It's fun to read everyone's comments and support each other."
The Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program was established with the support of the Centene Corporation and the Engelhardt Family Foundation. To date, the program has awarded more than $790,000 in scholarship money to childhood cancer survivors throughout the country.
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