Jackie E.

 

Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Windsor
Program: Law

In 2011 my mother was misdiagnosed with kidney stones. For a year and a half, she lived through excruciating pain and confusion. Time and time again, she was misdiagnosed. Kidney stones turned into gallbladder issues, which turned into an infection. In the middle of 2012, a doctor gave my mom her final diagnosis: stage 4 colorectal cancer with six months left to live.

My mother was an immigrant from Nigeria. She came to Canada to not only build a life for herself, but to create and give her children better opportunities. She worked to run her group home for young women with addictions, raise five children, all while living in an abusive marriage.

In the fall of 2013, my mother’s health went from bad to worse. She fought with unwavering grace and strength, until she passed away, on December 23rd, 2013 two days before Christmas.

My mother never obtained life insurance, because she never thought she would ever live a short life. Already living below the poverty line, with no life insurance, meant that there were no additional funds to pay for her funeral costs. Any and all savings that my siblings and I had were put towards my mom’s funeral.

My mother passing is the hardest battle I’ve faced. She was my source of strength and resilience. She went through many trials, but she was still always helping other people, no matter her circumstances. Every time she was knocked down, she got back up with dignity and grace, and she used these moments to teach her children.

With my mother's passing came a new set of financial burdens, and the stress of finances began to weigh heavily. It became my priority to help my father with the bills because of his deteriorating health. I stretched every dollar to make sure the necessities were taken care of. Life insurance would have helped keep the house maintained, food in the fridge, and it would have slowed the insurmountable debt that is accumulating, as I pursue post-secondary education.

In my community, life insurance is not talked about enough. Life insurance could have changed my family’s projection, and grieving my mother's death would not have been overshadowed by the financial turmoil myself and my family found ourselves in.

There were opportunities that I was forced to turn down such as travelling across the world and certain internship opportunities because financially I could not afford to stop working. If I wanted to pursue an education, I knew I would have to work as hard as I could. I worked two jobs, clocking in 60 hours a week in order to try and put a dent in my undergraduate tuition costs. The same resilience my mother had, is the same resilience that has carried me to work and to fight for my education. Rather than walk away from schooling, I want to continue to fight so that I can finish my education and make the dreams that my mother and I created come to life.

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