Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Western Ontario
Program: Business Administration
Gudrun was my mother. She was a single mother of three troublesome young boys, me being the youngest. She was a true altruist, putting everyone's needs before her own; she regularly worked two jobs simply to provide for our family. Her heart was full of nothing but love for us and the world around her. She nurtured and raised us better than any other could, passing onto us her strengths and virtues without which I could not, and would not, be the person that I am today.
I was eighteen and in my final months of high school when she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. My aspirations for a post-secondary education became less of a reality and even less of a priority; she was my only priority. I turned down my athletic scholarship along with my offer of admission to the University of Western Ontario. As my mother had cared for me in the past, it was now time for me to care for her. I spent the summer months after my high school graduation caring for her as she fought for her life, growing weaker and more ill with each passing day. She passed soon after in late July.
My world was in shambles. Her death was all too sudden and devastating. She had been the only constant positive force in my life and now I had to find a way to live without her. I had to find a way to not only care for my emotions, but also deal with the more sobering reality of food and shelter. I moved in with a generous friend and dedicated the next year of my life to settling the grief running rampant inside of me while simultaneously finding ways to finance my living needs. I started working 70-hour work-weeks, which gave me enough to meet those needs and begin adding to my savings, my dream of university had not yet escaped me. Eventually these savings combined with the help of various scholarships and loans I was able to reach my goal of attending one of the top business universities in the country.
As much as Gudrun had wanted, there was no inheritance to help my siblings and I through this difficult time. Because every dollar had to be stretched far enough to clothe and feed us, life insurance had never been even a consideration. It is easy to say in hindsight that such a simple thing like life insurance could have changed my family’s life in an extraordinary way. While I was working long hours, others were traveling the world, taking opportunities that I would never be able to consider. On top of that, my brothers and I might not now be drowning in an exorbitant amount of student debt. My determination and persistence have let me follow my dreams no matter the barriers, I can only imagine what heights myself and others in similar situations could reach if financing had not been such an obstacle.