To start out with, thank you seems so weak in nature; for how can one say a simple thank you to someone who has given them the opportunity to better their life. When I received my scholarship award from Alice Lloyd College, I can’t begin to explain how much it meant to me. I grew up in a household where the common saying is, “We are here to learn while bettering our lives and the lives of others.” With this scholarship, I knew that I would be able to succeed. Success has never been an option. However, sometimes life throws us a curve ball. We have to do what it takes to help our family, and we have to look to the future for even better tomorrows.
I recognize that each tomorrow is a gift. As Kevin Conroy said, “Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It is how they handle it that makes people unique.” To be honest, I had no idea what true adversity was until I had to face it. At an early age, I began to notice that my mom was losing her hair. She was very tired, and often she had to go to the doctor. Soon I found out that Mom had cancer. The reason I had no idea was because Mom is the strongest person I know. She continued to go to work until she just couldn’t. Through God’s grace, Mom had surgery and treatments, and she was cured and returned to her passion – being a teacher. After that, I knew that she could face anything, that we could face anything together.
Little did we know that we would get the chance to put our strength to the test once again. Eight years ago, my dad collapsed at work. We received a phone call telling us that we needed to come and get him because he had a headache. When we arrived, he couldn’t walk so Mom took him straight to the hospital. The hospital told us that he had to go immediately to the University of Kentucky Hospital because he had had a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage. He would spend the next fourteen days being confined to a hospital bed. He tried to return to work until the neurologist explained that there was nothing they could do. Dad now suffers from partial paralysis, short term memory loss, anxiety, and depression, but he is a walking, talking miracle. Since Dad can no longer drive, we have learned to adjust our schedules accordingly to make things work, for we know how fortunate we are. We are blessed beyond measure; the doctors said that only ten percent of the people who suffer from a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage like Dad’s live. He now sees a family doctor, a neurologist, a counselor, a psychiatrist, a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist once a month. My Nina sits with him while my momma works and I go to school. With that being said, we still have him, and we are so thankful. We have just had to pitch in more, and I don’t mind one bit. I have been very fortunate to live in a home with both of my parents where I am cherished, loved, and supported.
Now that it is very important to make every dollar count, I have tried to help my family financially. I have always been a caregiver for Dad with Mom, but now I have had to really step up. This is not something Mom has asked of me, but I know they need my help. Before the age of sixteen, I babysat every day after school until nine o’clock at night to make sure that we had money to pay our bills. My senior year, I got a job at an insurance company. When the year was finished, I began working at a local pharmacy where I was able to begin pursuing my dream.
Now my dream continues at Alice Lloyd College, where I currently am a freshman. I perform my work study in the registrar’s office. To be able to attend this college and work in such a Christian‐filled environment is a blessing by its own right, but to me, it is so much more. As a first‐year college student from London, Kentucky, I was nervous about leaving home. Thankfully, Alice Lloyd has become my second home. The staff here has embraced me and shown me that they, too, believe in me, something I will never forget or overlook. I know people say that they are grateful, but I owe so much to those who contribute to this institution. It is your generosity that has enabled me to make my dreams come true, to make a difference, and to look to even better tomorrows. Ms. Lloyd faced adversity, but that did not stop her from typing those donation request letters with one finger. I want to become a pharmacist and help people like my daddy. I want to make a difference, and I will. After finishing my four years here, I want to go to the University of Kentucky and finish my pharmacy degree.
The scholarship I have received will help me be able to become a pharmacist. ALC is permitting me to work a twenty‐hour week instead of the typical ten hours most students work. Any monies that I receive will help pay the remaining balance of my room, board and fees. I want to assure you that I won’t let you down, and I will give back to people of Appalachia. I know someone believed in me, so I will believe in the folks here that I hold so close to my heart. Few in their life have been as blessed as I. I have faced adversity, emerged stronger, and am ready to improve my life and lives of others. I definitely inherited my Mom’s strong will and my Dad’s determination to never give up on life. Thank you for your support and for allowing me to make a difference.
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