Wilemijn V.


2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: Conestoga College
Program: Nursing

In March 2019, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had recently gotten a new job at a place she really enjoyed but due to her cancer she was not allowed to work anymore and though we didn't know it at the time, she never would. She underwent 8 treatments of chemotherapy and a surgery in the summer of 2019. Throughout the summer we went back and forth to the ER because she was having horrible headaches. No one could figure out what she had until an MRI was taken and things went downhill from there.

Her cancer had spread through her blood to her brain and spine, she had a very rare form of cancer that usually develops as a result of breast cancer. The chances of survival were very slim as the doctors don't even know much about this; she was therefore terminal.

My mom didn't have life insurance because we never would've thought she was going to die so young; she was only 48 years old. I found out my mom was terminally ill before I was moving away for college, so I had to make a difficult decision, to go to school or not. No matter how much I wanted to stay with her I decided to go to school so that I could make her proud. I worked throughout the summer so that I could afford living away from home since my parents were unable to financially support me.

My mom died on December 31st, 2019, 9 months after she was first diagnosed. After she passed, my dad wasn't working for several months because of his grief and I decided to move back home to be there for him. I did my program online and had a hard time trying to support my dad and do well in school simultaneously. I was determined to continue my post-secondary education in order to make my mom proud, be there for my dad and get my dream job of being a nurse.

Since my mom had no life insurance my dad was very worried about paying the mortgage, the cars, and the debt my parents had accumulated over the years. I tried to help my dad financially as much as I could while working part time throughout the school year. My dad decided to go back to work months later but due to the pandemic there was no work. Not having life insurance made the family's financial burden overshadow our ability to grieve. With it, my dad wouldn't have worried about taking time off work to grieve his wife, his debts would have been resolved and we would be able to live in my mom's dream home at ease. I am now in nursing school closer to home and am determined to achieve my goal of taking care of others, while continuously supporting my dad and always remembering my mom.

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