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Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Jul 15, 2023
Winners Announced
Aug 15, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school junior or senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
Directly or indirectly affected by cancer

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States.

Because of this, many people have either had cancer or know someone who has. While deaths from cancer have been decreasing slightly in recent years, this is still a major issue that hasn’t been solved. And yet in the midst of these struggles, there are countless stories of survivors who have overcome cancer. The Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship will honor survivors and those currently battling cancer by supporting a student who has been affected - directly or indirectly - by cancer. 

High school juniors and seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students are eligible to apply if they have had experience with cancer personally or someone close to them has. To apply, write about how your experience with cancer has affected your outlook on various aspects of your life.

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Perseverance, Impact
Published February 15, 2023
Essay Topic

How has your experience with cancer - direct or indirect - affected your beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Mason Batz
Lindenhurst Senior High SchoolLindenhurst, NY
You never think cancer can get you, until it does. I remember my mom talking about her friend at work who’s son died from brain cancer. She and my dad could not believe that someone they knew could be dealing with this devastation. He was only eight years old and his name was Jake. My mom held me so tight after coming home from his funeral. I had no idea what was going on. Within the next year, I was getting fevers and felt wiped out. My mom brought me to the pediatrician and they tested me for every childhood illness, but everything was negative. Just a virus they said. It could last 7 days they said. My mother just kept bringing me back to the doctors office and she suggested that they take bloodwork. The doctor seemed annoyed but took a blood sample anyway. Probably just to get my mom out of there. The next morning, the phone rang and my mom answered it and started freaking out. She fell to the floor, crying. Next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room and the doctor looked upset. He told my parents that I had leukemia. For the next 3 years, I received chemotherapy into my port and spine, blood transfusions, steroids and other torture that I do not wish to relive. My childhood was taken away from me during that time. I was very weak and immunosuppressed so I was forced to stay away from anyone who could possibly get me sick. It was a lonely and boring time. My only friends were the nurses and child life specialists at the Cancer Center for Kids. They made every visit an adventure with games and toys to keep me occupied. Once I could finally go back to school, I knew I had to work really hard to catch up to the other kids. I believed in myself and today I am on the principal’s list. If you asked me a few years ago where I thought I’d be right now, it’s definitely not here. I am a high school senior, taking college and AP classes. I have been accepted to SUNY Maritime and hope to become an engineer one day. Cancer couldn’t stop me so I plan on spreading awareness about pediatric cancers in the future. I volunteer my time at the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to share my story and raise them money for research. I will always live my life to the fullest.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on Aug 15, 2023.

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