About the Foundation

 

The goal of the Fearless Scholar Foundation is to raise funds to financially assist cancer survivors in pursuing their collegiate education. While there are various challenges that students face there is none more challenging than a student trying to move forward after battling a life threatening disease. It is our hope that this scholarship is able to grant financial support to those fearless scholars.

Meet Our 2017 Fearless Scholars!

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Awarded a Scholarship of $1,500

Click here to learn more about out Top 2017 Fearless Scholar, Ryan

Ryan was diagnosed with cancer during her freshman year of college and was unable to return until her treatment was complete. After fighting cancer twice, Ryan returned fearlessly to Mt. San Antonio College where she earned her Associate Degree in Kinesiology. “Each new day tested me in a different way, making me stronger while reminding me it was okay to feel vulnerable and to be human. As long as I did not let any sad feelings keep me down for too long, there would always be an opportunity to learn and grow.”

During her stem cell transplant, Ryan was assigned a Recreational Therapist who helped her rebuild both her body and soul.  This encouraged Ryan to become a Recreational Therapist herself. Ryan has transferred to her dream school, California State University Long Beach and just completed her junior year!! This spring she earned all A’s and is currently volunteering at City of Hope. Ryan shared, “My overall goal is to complete my Bachelors in Recreation Therapy and become nationally certified to be a Recreation Therapist at City of Hope. Although there are many different areas for recreational therapists to work and many different populations to work with, my heart is set on working with cancer patients. It would mean everything to me to be able to work with cancer patients every day, to be a part of their journeys and to help remind them of the silver linings that surround every cloud especially when they cannot see it for themselves. Further beyond educational goals, my dream is to start a foundation focused on providing recreation therapy to all cancers patients since it is not considered to be a “necessity” to rehabilitation therapy and is not offered at all hospitals.”

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Awarded a Scholarship of $1,000

Alexandra was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17. After treatment, bald and weak she recommitted herself to gymnastics in hopes to be a part of the gymnastics team at UCLA. During her senior year, Alexandra earned a 4.6 GPA and was admitted to UCLA where she majored in Psychobiology and Premed post-baccalaureate. In addition, she made the gymnastics team where she medaled in the state championship. “With extreme focus I have turned myself from an average student to a straight A student whom has received academic honors, while maintaining two jobs. As I did with chemotherapy, each step of my education towards becoming a doctor is fully focused so that I may reach the goal of becoming a Pediatric Oncologist and contributing positively to the health and well-being of children in underserved communities. Although my educational path has not been straight forward during my preparation into medical school, I aspire to give people hope that neither cancer nor a learning disability can stop anyone from achieving their dreams.”  This fall Alexandra will be attending Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science to pursue her Masters in Biomedical Science. In addition, Alexandra founded ‘Alexandra’s Teddy Bear Drive’ where she annually raises awareness of pediatric cancer by collecting stuffed animals and gift cards during the holidays for children in treatment.

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Awarded a Scholarship of $1,000

Rebecca was diagnosed with cancer during her first year as a PhD student in Industrial Engineering and Operations at the University of California, Berkeley. Initially when Rebecca was diagnosed she wanted to avoid all thoughts of cancer and chose to block it out, however, when she learned to connect with other young cancer survivors it helped her to process her trauma and begin to fuel her career path. “So I started wandering if there was any way I could help, after all I had pretty solid and versatile mathematical knowledge. I started talking to biologists and researchers in the cancer field and I attended a conference on algorithms for biology and genetics. Here I made some good connections and started working with a professor from Italy on a project to identify cancer driver mutations. I developed an algorithm to perform the task and we in the process of writing a paper on the topic. I feel that I finally found something that I’m really passionate about and even if I know my part plays only a small role towards a cancer cure, it feels good to be helping in this moonshot effort to cure cancer.”

Rebecca’s colleague praises her effort in the cure for cancer, “Ultimately Rebecca is at a turning point in her career in which she is trying to pivot into being a lifelong cancer researcher and advocate. We need more people with her drive, intelligence, and desire to challenge the status quo, working on hard problems in cancer research and patient care. I think any assistance we can give her in her endeavors will be well spent and pay dividends for a long time to come.” 

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Awarded a Scholarship of $500

Alison enjoys being around kids and has always been called the “baby whisperer.” When she was in third grade, she came home from school one day and told her dad she wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.  After being diagnosed with cancer, she became interested in helping children in a hospital setting. Allison is returning to CSU-East Bay where she plans to study Human Development and hopes to become a Child Life Specialist. “It’s a job I never would’ve considered had I not been diagnosed with cancer. I believe this is where I am meant to be and what I am meant to be doing with my life. When I go back to school this fall my major will be Human Development with an emphasis in Childhood. I was dreading going back to school. Academics have never really come that easy for me and now with all of the chemo and radiation to my brain, simple tasks have become more difficult. And not really knowing what I was going to do after school was really making me feel unmotivated. But now that I have a plan for what I want to do after I feel rejuvenated and I can’t wait to start!”

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Awarded a Scholarship of $500

Molly was diagnosed with cancer a few months after graduating from college. During her treatment Molly was connected with Chai Lifeline, an organization that works with Jewish families who have children with life-threatening illness. The organization connected her with a social worker who visited her almost every day while in treatment. “Chai Lifeline’s support was so vital to my recovery and treatment that I was inspired to go into social work myself. When I was given the “in remission” status, my life started over. I slowly became a new version of myself, one that I never knew existed. I began my Masters in Social Work at UCLA in the fall and I couldn’t be happier. I spent this past year interning with formerly incarcerated and at-risk youth as a case manager. I helped them to overcome barriers and access resources they couldn’t access on their own. Through assisting my clients in overcoming their barriers, I began to overcome my own. I learned that even though I was given this life-threatening diagnosis, I can still help other people. Although I could not necessarily connect to their struggles specifically, I could understand what it was like to deal with something you have no control over.”

This upcoming year, Molly will be interning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a Social Worker in the Neurosurgery unit and is only one step closer to becoming the medical social worker she hopes to be one day.

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Awarded a Scholarship of $500

Danica has been accepted to the Azusa Pacific University graduate program in Clinical Psychology with and emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. “Being diagnosed with cancer, going through treatment, surviving, and trying to make myself a life in the aftermath have been so profoundly life-altering, that I can’t see myself doing anything else than working with people who have had this experience and are attempting to navigate their lives through the fear, anger, depression, sorrow, grief, isolation, and deep aliveness that the cancer experience puts people through. Working with emotional trauma, life altering events, and finding oneself through these experiences with the presence, listening heart, and reflective voice that a therapist brings, is what I would like to do with my future.”