3rd Quarter, 2007
Mesothelioma Memorial Scholarship
I am currently a freshman attending Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. I grew up in the town of Batavia, Illinois a far western suburb of Chicago. When I was 5 years old I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and was forced to undergo surgery followed by chemotherapy. For years doctors monitored me for a recurrence of my cancer, but I was lucky and it has not returned.
I love having the opportunity to give something back to others and I also love learning from doctors and nurses who dedicate themselves to helping cancer patients. I am majoring in the sciences in school (Biology/Molecular Biology) with the intention of going on to medical school and a career within the medical field in the future.
My other passion is the sport of baseball. I played all four years of high school and am continuing my baseball career in college too. My team and coaches honored me when I won the coveted Batavia High School Baseball Bulldog Award for the player that is not only a leader, but also the most hard working player. I hope to someday develop sports related programs to help children and young adults who face medical emergencies or to help them recover and regain confidence.
A Portion of Phillip’s Winning Essay:
In my childhood I was faced with many medical challenges. At the age of four I was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer called Wilm’s Tumor. I had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and many other treatments which caused side effects and complications to my health. I lost my voice for a while, my motor skills were slow in developing and I had to constantly be careful to avoid viruses and bacteria due to my weakened immune system. I spent a great amount of time in and out of hospitals, and around doctors and nurses.
As I grew older and began to ask questions I soon realized just how important doctors and nurses and their kindness and knowledge are to those families and individuals affected by an illness. For this reason I can definitely relate to those suffering with Mesothelioma and other terrible illnesses. Let me tell you how your organization could help me achieve my dreams.
At the same young age I fought cancer, I also fell in love with the sport of baseball. My parents encouraged me to play beginning at six years old, but my motor skill development made certain that I was not immediately one of the better players. In fact, one of my parents favorite stories is about how in my first years of little league I would stand in the outfield and watch all the trains pass by rather than pay any attention to the game. I would always report back to them at the end of each inning, giving them an exact count of the number of train cars that had passed. Nevertheless, baseball helped build my self-confidence, helped me learn the importance of working hard, and how to work with and respect others. My personal experiences have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me decide what I want to do with my life.
After my initial cancer treatment I spent some time as a camper at a cancer survivor’s camp for children. Here I learned from others who had been there before me. They talked to me about dealing with setbacks and coping with the drugs, shots and sickness that treatment caused. I was very young though and so what stuck with me most was that at TLC Camp I was treated like anyone else my age! I was a kid again, able to play games, have fun and just hang out with others.
In my high school years I later became a counselor at that very same camp and began to give back to others in similar situations. It is only fair that I help other young children who are going through what I did. Throughout this experience I have gained the knowledge, compassion, sensitivity, and drive to help others as I had been helped once myself.
My high school years have flown by. College looms in the not to distant future and I am a little bit anxious, but excited too. How am I going to pay for this? What will it be like to be the first to move away from home? These are just a few of the questions that race through my head. I hope that with your help I can find a way to pay all my own costs to attend college and not burden my family at all.
I hope to use my college education to combine the lessons I’ve learned through sports with the kindness, compassion, and professionalism of those in the medical profession. For this reason I am thrilled to be pursuing an athletic training degree.
The completion of my athletic training program and certification afterward are only the first steps in my career plans. I am already planning on attending medical school in the future. I have a strong interest in pediatric medicine and I believe that as an individual with a solid understanding of sports medicine and pediatrics I could have a very successful career. More importantly, this combination would also allow me to be influential in helping many different young children use sports to combat various diseases and medical complications. I can already see myself developing joint programs with hospitals and local youth organizations. This may very well be my life’s work!
Sports can teach kids a lot about life. I know, because my baseball passions were fueled by my parents and my coaches and I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. I know that I can use this to help others deal with life’s difficult challenges too. My high school baseball team has a motto, “Respect All, Fear None”. Every member of our team lives by this idea. As a doctor I will remember this motto and respect my patients and their families, but also teach them to never give in to the fear an illness may bring.
I strongly believe I could be the one to convince children and their families that they too should “Respect All, Fear None”!
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