Sarah R.


2022 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: Bishop’s University

From the start, the signs of my family’s struggles were apparent. I don’t believe there was much time where my parents were happy together. My mother’s mental strife caused by her schizophrenia made visits by the Children’s Aid Society commonplace.

My parents went through a divorce and a drawn-out custody battle in tandem. My father gained custody of me while my mother disappeared from my life, leaving me with naught but a vague memory of her presence.

However, my dad later suffered a seizure for which only I was present and was later diagnosed as brain cancer. So beginning the arduous journey of various forms of cancer treatment combined with the loss of function of my father. By late 2015, his condition had deteriorated so severely that he was placed in the care of the hospital permanently. On New Years’ Eve I was greeted with the news that my dad had died, beginning the turbulent transition to life with my cousin, now made my legal guardian through my father’s Will.

My father’s lack of life insurance magnified the burden my cousin faced when taking on the mantle of caring for me. With her husband being the sole provider for this new family, due to her own mental turmoil, there was no room for excess. Every expenditure was considered with the utmost care to to keep us afloat. The constant cloud of money related anxiety was ever present, infecting every aspect of daily life, there were many things that other children I knew had experienced, perceiving them as normal, which I saw as extraordinary.

Because I was only 11 when my father died, I was unable to contribute to my family’s finances. It wasn't until high school where I was able to start buying things for myself and finding a job to ease the burden solely carried by my parents until this point. I began paying bills the moment I could, then expanding my range of responsibilities as I grew up such as buying groceries.

The one benefit to such a large portion of my childhood spent with doctors was that it inspired me to strive to become one. My desire to help others not suffer the same fate as my father or experience what I went through because of it has been a central focus for my commitment to get accepted into top medical programs. If my father had had life insurance there would not have been this blanket of stress looming over my family since the day of its inception. If my dad had invested in life insurance then more of my family would have been willing to invest in my well being instead of seeing me as a liability to be cast into the foster care system and forgotten. My father’s forethought could have prevented the impending dread of financial debt which will shackle me into the foreseeable future without outside assistance; with that fear abated, I would be able to show what I am truly capable of.

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