2023 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of British Columbia
Program: Faculty of Science, Biology
Each time I take a step towards my studies, I feel as if I am adding stress and pressure to my mother. Having become the sole provider for my family, I often feel that it is better for me to quit my studies and gain full-time employment so that I can help my mother.
Since my father had been our sole provider until he passed away, my mother despite being pregnant began working two jobs shortly after. As a result, she developed constant stress and depression combined with working overtime led to a miscarriage, further impacting our family negatively. There was no life insurance associated with my dad, leaving me and my mother to suffer on our own. Due to limited resources, I had to change my lifestyle after losing my best friend, whom I relied on for everything I needed.
Since I was a child, I aspired to become a police officer, but following my father's heart attack I chose to become a doctor so that I could save the lives of those lacking medical care. Sadly, when I was 12, this dream was shattered when my mother was stabbed, and domestic violence was committed against her. This incident resulted in her having life threatening spinal cord injuries being hospitalized for over 6 months. I was placed in the foster care system living with a family that treated me poorly. As I attended counseling sessions and sought social support, I tutored at home to raise money for my university. In addition to completing my high school education, I managed to hold a part-time job and volunteer at the hospital and at a senior care center.
Throughout my life, I have always looked for ways to give back to my community, something my dad often did. Currently, I am a third-year student at University of British Columbia studying Biology along with Microbiology and Immunology. In addition to working as a YMCA leader, I volunteer at a senior’s center, perform lab research, and care for my mother who needs assistance with day-to-day tasks. She is currently on disability and taking medications such as pain relievers and sleeping aids which makes me more aware of the importance of being strong for her.
Our current financial situation, which is over 30 thousand dollars in debt, often requires us to seek food and clothing from non-profit organizations. With supporting a disabled mother and managing groceries, bills, and tuition fees, I would be eternally grateful for any support I can receive. In the face of mounting debt, I fear that I may not be able to study further as medical school is expensive, believing that the dream of becoming a doctor is unattainable.
My sincere gratitude goes out to the Manulife Scholarship for providing this opportunity to students like myself who have lost a parent. I strongly believe having life insurance for my parents would have saved us from the financial hardships we are experiencing today even after so many years.