Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: St. Francis Xavier University
When I was 14, I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in the middle of February and gone by the first of March. Within 11 months of this tragic loss, my mom started mentioning a severe headache. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and the unexpected happened for the second time. She was gone shortly after my 15th birthday. Within a short span, my life was permanently altered. I had a choice to make; I could let this tragedy slow down the trajectory of my life, or I could take the positives out of the situation and do good for others. This is ultimately what drove me to pursue nursing as my future career.
I struggled with the loss of my parents emotionally and financially for a long time. Luckily, my aunt Janet had two spare rooms for my brother and I to move in to. She is the reason I was able to push through the rough times and keep my head up. She lived a far distance from my junior high school but made the commute every day to drive us into town, so we could graduate with our friends. I ended up getting a part time job at a gymnastics instructor to save up money for a car so she wouldn’t have to drive us in and pick us up every day.
After my parents passed, we sold my family home and the money went straight into a bank account for my brother and me. This money was strictly for schooling purposes such as tuition and residence fees. As I got older, I realized how much money university would cost and knew that the money put away would not be enough to cover it. I then started a new job as a Tim Hortons supervisor in order to save up as much as I could for school. If my parents had a better life insurance plan, it would have allowed me to have more money put away for school and I would have been able strictly to focus on my studies without the financial worry.
Sitting here today writing this has caused me to reflect upon how far I’ve come. While losing both parents was tragic, I made a conscious decision to make the most of what life offered. Ultimately, I learned that I would have to work hard and save up a lot of money in order to fulfill my goal of helping others. The team of nurses who supported my family and I through our darkest days sparked within me a desire to serve my community. I wanted to be able to pay forward the care and love I received when I needed it most. It became evident to me that nursing would be the way to do it and I am eagerly looking forward to a life of service to others. My life represents the dreams and aspirations of my parents, this gives me the strength to not just survive, but thrive.