2005-2006 Recipients

In 2006, we awarded a total of 60,000 in grants to young adult survivors all over the country.

 

  • Brandon B.

    survivor of leukemia
    "I guess throughout my struggles with cancer I have learned that when death stares you in the face, just grit your teeth and stare right back at it. My goal for the future is a straightforward one that means a lot. I plan on giving back to the community, by dedicating my life to the rehabilitation and recovery of people struggling to survive, and beat cancer or other terminal illnesses... All in all I just want to live my life. I want it to be full of joy, passion, fulfillment, happiness, love, peace, morals, truth and the ceaseless enjoyment in a chosen career through which I will be pursue my ultimate goal - knowledge. I feel that I am only here today, to make a difference in someone else's life tomorrow."
  • Brian G.

    survivor of testicular cancer
    "Although college has been a major influence for my future, I believe the most significant learning experience of my life came when I was eighteen and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It has allowed me to view life as a very precious journey. I have always considered myself to be the kind of person to take the initiative in a situation, but since my diagnosis I feel that I am more ambitious than before... I've realized the importance of valuing your dreams, hopes and visions and the importance of pursuing them. I have been following my dreams of being a performer and am learning and enjoying my life every step of the way... The financial assistance from The SAMFund will allow me to move forward in that I will have less financial stress and debt so that I can concentrate on my goals. I hope to be an extremely successful musician."
  • Casey W.

    survivor of a brain tumor
    "Another challenge [of having had cancer] is that we have spent so much on medical bills in the past 2 years that could have been saved for college... Since I will be having MRIs every year for the near future, I will most likely be paying the full deductible of $5,000 every year. As a single parent of two children in college now, my mom sometimes struggles to make ends meet. But she is committed to seeing me fulfill my dream of attending [a technical institute]. I am planning on taking out student loans to pay for the $25,000 tuition... If I had not had cancer, I would be in a much better position financially to pay for school and then to start my life as a young man on my own... I want to be able to live on my own and pay my own bills after I graduate. The SAMFund scholarship would have me achieve this goal, by helping me start out not so far into debt."
  • Christine G.

    survivor of ovarian cancer
    "Like many cancer survivors, I am a bundle of contradictions. I find myself vacillating between being grateful for what cancer has brought me, and feeling that it's set me back by years. I am grateful for a heightened sense of time, a sense of time being valuable and short, as well as a sense of what's important in life. But I also find myself feeling that I've lost so much time, that I could have handled my diagnosis better. As a young adult cancer survivor, I'm surely not alone in feeling both older and younger than my years. I am old beyond my years, having faced mortality... but at times I feel years younger because of the time I lost to the ripple effects of cancer...Because I am anxious to start the next phase of my life as quickly as possible, I will be attending school full-time and will need to relocate and leave my current job... I am nearing my goal of being consumer debt-free, but at 32 have minimal savings and essentially no assets other than a few thousand dollars in a retirement account and an inherited Hyundai Elantra...More than the average person my age, I acutely know the peril of accruing debt without thought of the future, of paying for today with money from a shaky tomorrow... I will be almost 35 when I complete my degree and would be immensely grateful for the chance to start my new life and career with as little debt as possible."
  • Christy B.

    survivor of two brain tumors
    "Financial help from The SAMFund would be a blessing. The costs of getting to and completing [graduate school for naturopathic medicine] have been a big stress! I finally had to let go and just let it be, to just close my eyes and move forward. Any assistance would be so beneficial to me and someday along the line to the people I will care for. This school will not only teach me how to regain my own health, but to help others in their health too. I would like to have a practice that offers a wide variety of healing tools and learning in improving one's health and lifestyle... This has been my career goal, my dream for so long, and now it is coming true right before my eyes. I can hardly believe it!"
  • Dana S.

    survivor of leukemia
    "The biggest challenge of being a cancer survivor is the entire notion of 'starting over' or finding a 'new normal.' Cancer is life altering at any age, but it often feels like young adult cancer survivors encounter challenges not normally faced by the average twenty-something... Using my experience as a cancer survivor in my career will combine my life lessons, innate gifts and deep interests to help children who are fighting cancer and other chronic illnesses... No matter where the road of life may take me, I know the spirit of survivorship lives inside of me and will carry me through the days and nights of my life. I will be content and fulfilled in a career setting that focuses on education, support and wellness for those in the cancer community... My present commitment to volunteer work in the cancer community will continue to flourish even after meeting my professional goals, because I feel it is my joyful obligation as a survivor to support the cause the propels the forward motion in my life... I truly believe that a grant from The SAMFund will lighten the burden presented by the costs of graduate school and allow me to succeed by exemplifying that I can use my experience with cancer to make a difference in the life of a child."
  • Daniel E.

    survivor of neuroblastoma
    "My biggest challenge of being a cancer survivor has to be dealing with constant interruptions to a "normal" life. Missing out on many social functions because of infection or migraines or doctor's appointments or surgery, as well as missing many days of work and school and struggling to keep up with the class, has been physically and emotionally difficult... Assistance from The SAMFund will enable me to get the medical workup I need to hopefully cure or at least control my frequent severe migraines, which will enable me to focus on my educational goals and ultimately fulfill my career goals and dreams."
  • Erin M.

    survivor of Wilms Tumor
    "This journey has given me greater compassion, an ever-increasing desire for advocacy with relation to young adult survivors of childhood cancer, and an interest in becoming involved in the pediatric medical community... I thank you for the opportunity to request these funds. It is amazing to find an organization that recognizes the world of young adult cancer survivors. There are times I feel lost in the shuffle for survivorship advocacy because I am no longer going through treatments but childhood cancer is so dramatically different an experience than adult cancer, so I do not always identify with survivors of adult cancers."
  • Jana S.

    survivor of lymphoma
    "Like most healthy twenty-five year olds, before my diagnosis I had never thought to review the health insurance policy provided through my school, had never thought about what hospital bills could cost, or whether bone marrow transplants would be covered... During my five months of treatment I spent more time talking to and fighting with insurance companies than I did talking to my doctors about my health, my treatment, and my life...After six cycles of [chemotherapy treatment] I was in remission, and in the spring of 2005 I returned to law school. I was happy to be back to school with my friends, but I also felt different, and had trouble relating to people. While my classmates talked about buying new cars or where to get the best manicure, I wondered if the chemotherapy had left me infertile, if my health insurance would cover me if I relapsed, or how I would ever repay my loans... As a lawyer, I plan to use my legal skills to advocate on behalf of other patients... Young adults with cancer face unique challenges that require unique solutions. The challenges I faced after my diagnosis such as lack of insurance and loss of independence are similar to the challenges faced by many other young adults with this or any other disease. I am incredibly grateful to my family and doctors for seeing me through treatment and remission, and I hope that in the future I can use my experience and my legal knowledge to help others through the process as well."
  • Lauren S.

    survivor of colon cancer
    "The biggest challenge of being a cancer survivor for me is having to put your life on hold, and then pick up where you left off. You have to push the pause button on your life and spend the next several months fighting to stay alive. As a young adult you are trying to start your life and knowing you can't be like everyone else is very difficult. I didn't notice it as much during my treatment, but now that I'm trying to get my life back on track, I am saddened that my life hasn't gone as I've planned... Right now my goals are to finish school so I can receive my degree in Behavioral Science and become an Oncology Social Worker. Even before my cancer diagnosis I wanted to go into social work and since my experience, I am very excited about the opportunity to help other young adults with cancer... I am covered by my dad's [health] insurance until my 25th birthday... and after that I am on my own. I had to find a job that provided benefits because my job as a nanny... didn't offer benefits. I had to take a pay cut when I switched jobs so that I could get insurance. With this diagnosis, there is no way I can go without it. My parents have been helping me as best as they can with the medical bills I have acquired, but they don't have a lot of money to pay these bills either. I also hate to put the burden of my bills on anyone else. ...When I found out my diagnosis, it took me a long time to comprehend what was happening, and when I was ready to search out information about my disease, I discovered that it's a lonely time for a 23-year old with cancer... I want the opportunity to make something positive come out of something as destructive as cancer. I anticipate making a huge impact on the community of young adult survivors of cancer in a way so that they won't feel isolated and confused. I know that what I needed most was not the sympathy and compassion, but the feeling that you're not alone in this battle to survive. That is a gift I would like to give to every young cancer patient."
  • Marisha T.

    survivor of lymphoma
    "Now that I have a second chance at life, and I am feeling healthier than ever, it is time to live life the way I always planned it. I no longer have the desire to procrastinate or make up excuses. I don't want me future to be defined by the illness - I don't want to be 'the girl who had cancer' for the rest of my life, but the experience has helped to shape who I am now. The future was once a nebulous concept; I could always say I would do something later. But now, later means today. I want to bring all my plans to life...There is a silly song lyric that goes, "nobody likes you when you're 23." Silly as it sounds, the sentiment can unfortunately feel true at times. As young adults we can be full of dreams and ambition but have no way to prove it... Many organizations only benefit the very young or elderly, so your unique choice of beneficiaries is greatly appreciated. A lot of us are in the stage of struggling to gain financial independence, and buying our first cars and houses, while simultaneously dealing with college debt. It is also a time at which many of us are leaving our parents' health plans, so of course the history of cancer makes us uninsurable. (I personally am currently paying exorbitant monthly premiums for COBRA.) Inconvenient sounds like such a mild word for getting cancer, but at this age, it really is!"
  • Mary T.

    survivor of germ cell carcinoma
    "The hardest thing about being a cancer survivor is realizing when you can move on and having the confidence to do it. For so long I did not dare make plans for the future. Even still I have some uncertainty, and perhaps always will... But I am discovering that I need to stop focusing on how I almost died and what I have lost, and start centering on what I have and how I am now going to live...When I first began to move forward with my life after cancer, I found I lacked identity and purpose. Now that I am finding that purpose and identity, I lack the funding necessary to turn these worthy goals into reality. Cancer hit us hard financially...I am grateful for the opportunity this application has afforded me to put into words my experiences and the feelings associated with it. The last few weeks of writing pages of memories, experiences and future plans has made me even more certain of my current path. I have realized more about myself and am reminded of what I am capable of. Today is the day to make things happen because who knows what tomorrow holds for some of us. I know what I need to do and I know this funding can make that possible. I don't want to put off my dreams any longer."
  • Rita R.

    survivor of lymphoma
    "My goals are to continue my education so that I can reach my goal of becoming a Medical Social Worker, which has been a heartfelt desire of mine... I have a strong appreciation and zeal for this much needed profession in this world. (May my standard of moral and professional excellence be the role model for the next generation!) ... Financial assistance from The SAMFund would enable me to move forward with my goals of becoming a Medical Social Worker. Any financial assistance will directly help me pay the tuition needed to complete the first aspect of my educational goal of Michigan State University certification. My professional goal is dependent upon completing the educational goal first!"
  • Shauna B.

    survivor of lymphoma
    "Financial assistance from The SAMFund will enable me to move forward with my life. I feel like since I was put in remission in February I have anxiety; I know it is normal for people who go through things like this, but I get very paranoid every time I have a test... I also have a bit of anxiety about other aspects of my life, finances being the other main one. I am afraid that I will not be able to pay all of my bills on time and I do not want to run to my parents for help because I need to act like an adult... having this sort of financial stability would let me focus on my school work and activities that I am involved with, also letting me save money so that I will be able to handle the bills on my own."
  • Tammi J.

    survivor of breast cancer
    "Your financial assistance will enable me to go to my treatments, be a better mother and fighter without the added stress of knowing I can't pay my bills...Cancer is hard enough to deal with on its own; now add financial, emotional, loss of self-esteem, pain from side effects, raising a family and financial ruin - any help would be greatly appreciated."
  • Trevor B.

    survivor of lymphoma
    "I'm now beginning my third year at [Albany Medical College], on my way to becoming an oncologist/hematologist... My destination is clear. Cancer put me on this path, engendered the drive and passion to help others suffering from this disease. No other life would be fulfilling for me. I believe I can incorporate the good things I saw in my doctors and improve in the areas that they were lacking. I believe I can be an excellent oncologist/hematologist... With a little help through these difficult financial years I know that eventually I'll be out of debt and have resources to make these things happen. The resources sometimes seem to manifest out of the desire to give back, to tackle another challenge. Thank you for considering me."

This is a partial list of recipients.

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