Elias M.


2020 Scholarship Recipient


Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Calgary
Program: Education

Growing up, our family life was everything anyone could hope for. I had two loving parents and two younger siblings. We went on family vacations, touring the world together and making countless memories. We loved one another, laughed with each other and always wanted to be together. Never did we expect or prepare for the life altering event of losing a parent.

On January 8th, 2010, unexpectedly, my father passed away. Sitting in the living room talking to company, my father experienced a massive heart attack. I was watching TV in the next room when all of a sudden, I heard yelling and screaming coming from the living room. Quickly, I ran to see what all of the commotion was. I can still vividly see my father on the couch struggling for breath. In that instant, I froze. I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. Fourteen years old and right in front of me, my parent is losing his life. This image will be with me forever.

The death of my father is the most devastating hardship I have ever faced. Being the oldest, I had to grow up instantly to support my family. I was involuntarily placed into the “father figure” position of the family and being the role model for my siblings. Not only did we lose our mentor and role model, we lost our sole financial provider. My father didn’t have life insurance when he died, and although he passed ten years ago, the four of us continue to be impacted by this. From 14 years old my siblings and I have been working two-three part-time jobs to meet our minimum monthly financial obligations. We were forced to learn how to balance a busy schedule including school, working, and volunteering in the local Greek and Calgary homeless communities. My dad was an immigrant, but he always said, “Go to school, get an education, work hard and love one another. Get an education, so that your hands do not have to look like mine.” These words have stuck with me, and I have persevered and am currently pursuing my second undergraduate degree from the University of Calgary.

Life can change instantly; I know this well. This is why life insurance is the most imperative investment. It is the ones we love most dearly that are burdened with expenses once we are gone. We had no time to grieve my father’s death. Life kept going with expenses and bills still piling up. This event has emphasized the critical nature of financial planning and investing in a life insurance plan. Had my father invested in a life insurance policy, his three kids would have been secure and had the opportunity to live our teenage years instead of fulfilling adult obligations from 14 years old.

Thank-you to Manulife for considering my application regardless of the outcome as I take comfort knowing that someone who has dealt with a similar hardship will be able to breathe a little easier.

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