Olivia V.


2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of New Brunswick

I would like to thank Manulife for this opportunity.

Stacy V. was my mother. She was my whole world. Her eccentric and joyful spirit affected everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. She was one of a kind. A single mother that did everything in her power to give me the best life possible. My mother was all I'd ever need.

In 2011 our lives were permanently changed. I was eight years old when my mother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. I was too young to comprehend what was happening, only that my mom was terribly ill. Too weak to get up and make breakfast or dinner, our roles were reversed. I was the one who took care of her. At home I checked on her relentlessly. The scariest times were when she'd fall sick at home, and I had to call the ambulance. Most days, I kept her company in the hospital.

I felt completely alone. Four years later, I sat by her side in the hospital bed as she took her last breath. I was eleven years old.

I held her hand as she faded away, and it felt as if the floor had fallen out beneath me. My world was shattered, and I was in agony. I knew it would be a whole new life from there on, but I was not ready to leave this one behind. I moved in with my moms' best friend and her partner, who I call my aunt and uncle, and their son. Years passed and still these painful memories still hang in my mind. My new parents did not have the means for therapy, nor did my mother leave much in the bank. My mom was 34 when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and hadn't thought about the need of life insurance beforehand, but by then it was too late. She was young, trying to make enough money to pay a months' rent and feed herself and I. Life insurance could have made an incredible difference. My aunt and uncle are both self-employed artists, just getting by in order to provide a roof over our heads and food in our fridge. My biological father moved to Australia when I was five and has not returned since, nor spoken to me since the passing of my mom. This has left the responsibility of paying the entirety of my education on me.

I always knew that I wouldn't allow my trauma to stop me from reaching my goals. I am applying for this scholarship because I have been accepted to the University of New Brunswick where I will be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. My biggest motivation in life is my mom. My mother has shown and me courage and bravery; and she taught me that you can never dream too big if you have the dedication. One thing I am certain of is that my mother wanted to see me succeed, and I will not disappoint her.

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