We have a winner!! We are pleased to announce our college scholarship essay winner. And the winner is... ALYSSA ANSELL
"Life is what you make it" is said by thousands of people each day. Because this saying is used so often, I don't think people realize how much value this one simple saying holds. However, when this is said to an eleven year old girl with long dark hair, who has just been told she has cancer, it isn't easy to accept.
Now, no longer that little girl anymore, I understand that life is truly a blessing. And because life is a blessing, so is everything that comes with it. On November 14, 2007, a doctor with curly red hair came into the emergency room and delivered the news- to me - that I had cancer and would have to fight ALL leukemia for the next three years. At first came the shock, later came the heartbreak, and after that, the fight. The battle with cancer is not an easy one, especially for a child. However, I have come to realize that even though it may be the toughest journey one may ever endure, it can also be a blessing.
Throughout my illness, I was terrified and exhausted. Being in the hospital, as many people know, is not a pleasant experience. There were countless weeks I spent overnight in the dreaded hospital beds, swallowing pills, and getting my IV redone. The thing about cancer is, it's terrifying, exhausting, and heartbreaking. But, when you beat it, you realize what kind of person you really are. The horribly nauseous, weak, and hopeless feelings a person felt before, and finally pushed away, brings out their ability to be nothing but optimistic. The constant unpleasant pricks and prods of the nurses teach them perseverance. The constant burden of not being a "normal kid" teaches them determination to fight to one day to be healthy. The loving hearts of those around them teaches them empathy and compassion. Most of all, the fight they fought to cure themselves of cancer, teaches them an unfailing kind of strength and belief in themselves that they never knew existed.
For three years, I endured chemotherapy, spinal taps, and, of course, the altered sickly appearance. Everyone has heard the saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Well, I am still here. I feel it is now "my calling" to help children through what I've experienced. I want them to look at me and know there is life after the battle with cancer. I want these children fighting cancer to find the undiscovered strength they have within themselves.
My experience with cancer has led me to a future that I can one day be proud of I am going to college to obtain the knowledge necessary for me to become the best Physician's Assistant I can possibly be. I believe that we are all here with a purpose. Through my illness, I have found my purpose. I am going to help cure children of the illnesses they are faced with each day. Please help me fight the good fight.
Thank you for considering me for this scholarship.
1. What school are you attending?
I am attending school at Florida State University. Go NOLES! I absolutely love it!
2. What is your major?
I am currently a Family and Child Sciences major. I am getting my four year degree with a concentration in nursing to eventually become a nurse practitioner for a pediatric oncologist.
3. What are your interests and hobbies?
I have many interests and hobbies. I live by the beach and the ocean is something I love. Spending time by the water is something I never get tired of. I love children. I am currently a volunteer at a pre-school right off campus. The children that attend this specific school always put a smile on my face. I also love being surrounded by friends and family.
4. What plans do you have after you graduate?
After I graduate I want to go on a medical mission for a year, work in a hospital for a year, and then go on to more schooling! I hope to go to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner for a pediatric oncologist in a large hospital. Working in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite is a dream of mine.
5. Share whatever you would like about who Alyssa Ansell is.
My favorite color is orange, I love being around people, I work in a restaurant on the beach, and country music is my favorite!
We’ve been blessed with another year of moving essays for our 2014 college scholarship essay contest. What continues to resonate is that each young man and woman wants to tell their story. These are stories of strength that inspire and encourage everyone who reads them. I think my Joey was on to something when he developed our scholarship program with the theme of any topic.
Our winning essay by Alyssa Ansell is a personal story that will cause you to take a moment to think, “What am I doing with my life?” She adeptly shares who she is and where she has come from, but even more so, where she is going and what she is doing with her life. I have no doubt that her life will impact the very community she will forever be a member of.
To all the amazing young men and women who took part in our contest this year, my heartfelt thank you and may you continue to soar wherever your heart desires. In the words of Alyssa “Life is what you make it.” Much success and many blessings!