For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Caden Curry

1225

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

My goal for college is to help people like myself who struggle with rare medical issues. I want to help them learn to cope with their illness and how sometimes there is a long time before getting any answers. I have struggled with several serious rare medical conditions, genetic mutations, and other medical issues that my doctor now considers me patient 0. There is no one else in the world that has what I do. I have suffered for 8 years which has interrupted my entire high school experience. I missed out on sports, joining teams, extracurricular activities, and just the normal high school life. Instead, I have spent my high school career sick. Two years were spent medically homebound due to serious symptoms, constant tests, screening for diseases, and suffering from severe medical symptoms. Although my answers have not been given to me I am determined to have the most normal college experience possible. I have faith that my doctors will find an explanation, and I will do what I can on the psychological end to help anyone else struggling like me.

Education

Calhoun Falls Charter School

High School
2018 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, General
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      My long-term career goal is to make a positive impact on people's lives. People who are like me and struggle in silence and shame. For the people who think their voices don't matter. To make a change In the field of psychology and treatment processes to successfully close a gaping whole that exists now. I want to make life less hard and more enjoyable for those who can't or won't ask for help.

      Sports

      Baseball

      Club
      2019 – 20201 year

      Research

      • Medicine

        Greenwood Genetic Center — subject
        2017 – Present

      Arts

      • Calhoun Academy of the Arts

        Acting
        2012 – 2024

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        Town of Calhoun Falls SC — Volunteer
        2017 – 2020

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Reese McGee Memorial Scholarship
      I would like to start by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. My name is Caden Curry and I am 18 years old. I have had a long road medically that has left me diagnosed with many different medical issues. At first, I was diagnosed with acromegaly. Another name for the disease is gigantism. I have several growth-related genetic malformations that were not found until I was eleven. While I was undergoing tests for different genetic diseases I was found to have a pituitary tumor. For many months I underwent testing and became very very ill. My case was medically in no way, shape, or form like anyone else’s the doctors had ever seen. By the time I was 13, I found out that I had something called peri-ventricular nodular heterotopia. My family and doctors did a lot of research on the disease but didn't find that much. I, still to this day, undergo constant testing to find answers. The craziest fact is that there have been 3 cases of this disease found in fetuses; 2 of them were female and survived past utero, and the third was male and did not. That makes me the only living male with PVNH so my treatment and prognosis are not guaranteed. One of the first signs my family noticed was that I would go through these “spells” where I would seem disconnected from my body. My mother says it is as if I am not in my body and she can't see into my eyes. In those moments, I appear to be in space and do not respond to any outside stimuli. I have to come out of it gradually and on my own. I later found out that I had focal and absence seizures. Sometimes it looks like I am just daydreaming. Other times it can be a little scarier where I could have some odd movements with my eyelids or hands. A few weeks ago I began to have more and more of them, almost on top of one another. They started lasting longer than 3 minutes, I would go in and out of them rapidly, and at one point we noticed my head swelling pretty bad and it caused severe pain. The pain becomes debilitating. Several neurologists didn’t understand anything more than that it was a genetic cause. Many of them didn’t even want to classify my physical symptoms as seizures, although PVNH is medically classified as involving seizures. I was lucky enough to have 1 episode caught on an EEG. So that is where my epilepsy journey began. Like many things in life, my journey is not the same as anyone else’s. It will probably stay that way and that is the one thing I have learned to accept about myself. I am different. I am patient zero. At many points in my life, I suffered a great deal, almost every day, but it has never stopped me from pushing forward in life. I will live with hope that one day I will have answers, all the while knowing it may not be in the cards for me. I have made peace with that. So weirdly that is what I am most proud of. I am proud of myself for being okay with the unknown because that is life. Life is about walking into the unknown and being okay with that. My legacy will hopefully be the answers that come one day. I may not be blessed to get them, but by living I can save someone else’s life. A legacy & a miracle.
      Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care
      I would like to start this essay submission by introducing myself. My name is Caden Curry. I am currently 18 years old and I aspire to practice in the field of psychology. For myself, I knew that from a young age where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to major in. In November I was overjoyed to recieve an early acceptance letter from my dream school, Coastal Carolina University. All the excitement started to lead to fear. My mother struggles with both multiple sclerosis and mental health issues. My worry was two-fold: how will she handle me not being around and how it would effect my own struggles with mental health issues. I feel like I must mention that my entire family has problems with mental health. For generations we have all battled the stigmas of the diseases we didn’t ask for. I have faith that it is my purpose on Earth to help people, and no matter what my faith would make a way because if you ask the universe for it, and you deserve it, it will serve it. Due to my struggle with mental health & physical health, I know adversity. It is my wish to help people with the same issues I have. The world dealt me a not-so-great hand medically. One of my medical conditions is that there is no other male living with it in the world. That will never stop my purpose to help ease the mental toll medical issues take. I believe that there is a huge gap in treatment that would sufficiently help more people. Speaking from experience, I have been the patient that goes to therapy and you immediately notice the first time the doctor checks his watch for your starting time. Exactly 30 minutes later, whether you are mid sentence or not, you get the phrase “so we will continue this next week,” with little to no respect for the depth to which you had gone. It is like a knife to the heart and a huge disappointment when you put the faith and trust in someone with your deepest and darkest secrets and the treat you like you are just another singular person. To make matters worse, they don’t remember you the following week and you begin again. That is a major gap causing treatment success rates to drop drastically. How can you open up to someone who isn’t even paying attention, or giving you the respect that you deserve? That circumstance is also linked to the issue that patients get close to therapists who just up and leave. I found this to be a common problem with the state mental health services. The amount the patient themselves puts on the line is not matched with the care they get. We know that there is a huge lack of resources in therapists and even physicians now, especially affordable ones. This lead me to my next goal. I believe that any and all mental health care should be free. Treating mental health as a problem of circumstances, or choice is negligent and dangerous. I am aware that there is a fine line to walk and it will take a lot of work and explanation added with trial and error to make this space in medicine more successful. There is overwhelming statistical support that changes need to be made in this field. I no longer want to sit back and just give my opinions. I want to help be the change the world needs. I wholeheartedly believe my purpose in this world is to help others.
      TTOG Scholarship
      In my circumstance, my medical conditions have stopped me from being able to take AP credits. At any given point over the past 8 years, just the simple task of getting to class and making it through a day was an overwhelming concept and a miraculous accomplishment. I feel I should be able to apply for this scholarship because the road I have had is, in my opinion, just as difficult as those advanced courses. In my experience, the struggle of overcoming medical barriers that I cannot control is equivalent to the difficulty of those courses. To understand what I mean you must know that I have several medical issues that are a million in one, and in one case I am considered patient zero. That has been my advanced course in life, not just scholastically. To me it is much more of an accomplishment to make it through a day and now more importantly my secondary education career. I must include that I did take some of the toughest courses in high school while being on medical homebound instruction. I had to struggle every day medically all the while teaching myself chemistry and geometry. Both subjects involved equations and contained mathematical principles, which I always struggled with. As an autistic person, I struggle with grey areas that are not set out. In my mind, there is a right and a wrong with no in-between. My senior year my school wanted to place me in probability and statistics class, which gave me imminent panic. I knew as someone who has dealt with the hand I was given it would be my downfall. I was not afraid of the hard work, and I accepted those challenges with ease, however, knowing my brain capability led me to speak up for myself. I advocated for myself and changed to Pre-Calculus. Everyone doubted me. Why would I want to take a course that was considered way harder instead of taking a normal curriculum? The answer was and always will be that I will choose to work harder for something I am challenged by that is within my capabilities. I did not fear the hard work in prob and stat, instead I knew I would set myself up for failure. I believe that knowing who you are and knowing your capabilities reflects how hardworking you are. Changing course when you realize a task is insurmountable doesn’t make you less of a hard worker. It is the exact opposite. Pre-Cal was not an easy course, it was extremely challenging yet I worked as hard as I could and came out with a 94 average in a class no one believed I could even pass. That is how hardworking and dedicated I am to my education. My hard work has taught me to speak up for myself because I know myself best. Financial burdens for me are always a part of life. My mother supports us on SSI, which is not a lot of income. I was accepted early with some partial scholarships to Coastal Carolina University, my dream college. The burden lies in the cost and not in the coursework. To be 100% honest I will not be able to attend without scholarships. I will continue to work hard and write scholarship essays to show I do not want my hard work to stop at high school. I will not stop working to obtain my goals. My struggle has taught me the kindness of strangers and the importance of being kind, my will is to spread it forward.
      Jake Thomas Williams Memorial Scholarship
      I lost my grandmother in October. She was my world, my mentor, my hero, and just my everything. The poor woman struggled in many ways with mental health. She took care of her mother who was very suicidal. She attempted suicide several times. She also struggled with bipolar disorder and had multiple personalities. I was so confused because my grandmother said she felt some type of relief when her mom passed because she couldn't take the abuse anymore- that stuck with me. Grandma wasn't that lucky and within a few years, all four of her daughters were diagnosed with some type of mental illness. My mother probably was the worst. She was rebellious and angry all the time. Her doctors said it was from losing her dad when she was 5 after a brief struggle with an aggressive cancer. My mother started to have abandonment issues that still last to this day. For her other three daughters, the struggle with mental health led them to issues with drugs and alcohol and times got dark. Two of her children attempted suicide over and over. It was once again a pain my grandmother knew all too well. She continued to stand beside her kids in the hope of helping in some way shape or form. Years later my grandmother found relief in a blast from the past when she met my poppa. He was someone she knew from growing up in New York City, but they hadn't seen each other in years. He was one of the best things that happened to them. Struggles got a little easier because the abandonment of my mother was relieved just by his presence. After a few years together they got married. They had a wonderful life for the first six months. Although he was a cleptomaniac when he had all the money in the world to buy what he wanted, he started to get a “high” off of it. His mood started changing and he became withdrawn and quiet. On July 26, 2001, it started like an ordinary day. He had called home and spoke with my mom. He told her what he wanted for dinner and then asked to speak to Grandma. Before my mom passed the phone, he weirdly uttered a quick I love you, this was very odd. Their normal routine was love ya-no bye. Not thinking anything into it she gave grandma the phone. Mom made him his favorite dinner but by 5 p.m...…He wasn’t home. Hours passed slowly. They went to look for him but where did he go? They went home and called the police. Hours later they showed up to let our family know he was dead- suicide. These stories pushed me to enter the psychology field. I want to make a difference and I want to help change statistics. Huge gaps exist within the counseling aspect. No doctor out there doesn't put you on a time clock and tell you you will pick up next week, only to not recognize you a week later. Peer experience isn’t looked to as a major benefit in treatment, yet who knows better than someone who’s been there? After all, sometimes we just need to know we are not alone. Prescribing the wrong drugs or piling one on top of the other has a huge consequence on the brain yet it is rejected as an area to improve. The main improvement to mental health is having providers who have been there, know your pain, and can give real advice from experience, not from a textbook. I hope to be that difference.
      WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
      I would like to start by introducing myself and thanking you for this opportunity. My name is Caden Curry and I am 18 years old. I currently reside in South Carolina and plan to attend college here as well. I was accepted into Coastal Carolina University this November with early acceptance. I worked hard through many obstacles throughout my high school career. Although it is not typical, my being able to say that I will graduate with honors is probably what I am most proud of. I am not the proudest of this achievement for the recognition or any merit received from it. I am the most proud of achieving this goal because of the determination and character-building it taught me. I was diagnosed with a rare disease a few years ago. As time passed I saw every medical professional that exists on this planet. Many may be presumptuous thinking that I would have found answers or a course of treatment by now, but that is not the case. I am left with more questions, no cure, and a gaggle of medications that I don’t even know what they all do anymore. I have missed a tremendous amount of teacher instruction due to being ill. By the end of my sophomore and junior years, I was out on medical homebound while I was poked and prodded like a test dummy. It was a struggle because my course load included chemistry and geometry. Math was never my strong suit. I will admit that I am a special education student for that reason and the fact that I have Autism. Educational stuff never came easy to me. Every A was a struggle and a monumental achievement. I had to try harder than so many people. I didn’t just struggle because of the Autism, it was more the physical and mental wearing down that came with every unanswered question from the slew of doctors. I did become severely depressed at a point and I just wanted to quit. The doctors weren’t giving me much hope and getting my work done was so difficult. It was in that black cloud moment that I realized that I was not alone. There are kids like me out there who struggle every day for many reasons, maybe not my reasons, but it was a similar struggle. I chose at that moment to strive hard and stay ambitious. I needed to set a goal that at the time seemed to be insurmountable. I was not only going to graduate, but I was going to be at the top of my class and graduate with honors. Accomplishing this goal made me realize that anything I put my mind to can happen. No matter what tribulations I may face in the future, I know that I can overcome anything and everything. My goal of making an impact in other people’s lives will come true and I will get my degree in psychology. It is my purpose in life to teach that if I can overcome my obstacles, I can achieve anything. Ask the universe and when it receives it, you will achieve it.
      Frantz Barron Scholarship
      I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Caden Curry. I am originally from NY but have resided in South Carolina for 15 years. I began my schooling in this state and will complete it here as well. As a person, I am hardworking, focused, driven, and destined to achieve my goals in life. The only path forward to do so is attending college. For me, it was important to take that a step further and attend a 4-year university. Last fall, I submitted my application for admittance to Coastal Carolina University. This was the only school I applied to and had the faith in myself to get in. In November, I was elated when a piece of mail came from the university. As I was shaking, I opened the envelope and was overwhelmed that I had just received early acceptance into the university. Moreover, as I read the letter I saw that I was also recognized as being welcomed with a Teal Scholar title due to academic achievements. My mother was so shocked because she was nervous about me being dead set on one select school. I was driven by my goal to achieve what I have always wanted, I was able to attend a university, something no one in my family has ever done. I did this by hard work and overcoming so many obstacles in my way. This is where I recognized a huge problem, finances. My mother struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and is on Social Security. There is no way that she could afford the tuition, she was adamant that I do not get caught up in student loans. There was never a minute I was discouraged, instead I pushed further. I promised myself that under no circumstance would I give up my dream no matter what the barricade was. Throughout the year I have ground pavement and looked up every scholarship under the sun and my fingers got to work. Although I do not know being accepted for any of them, I have faith that it is my purpose on Earth to help people, and no matter what my faith would make a way because if you ask the universe for it, and you deserve it, it will serve it. Due to my struggle with mental health & physical health, I know adversity. It is my wish to help people with the same issues I have. The world dealt me a not-so-great hand medically. One of my medical conditions is that there is no other male living with it in the world. That will never stop my purpose to help ease the mental toll medical issues take on people like me. Yes, doctors may have the medical knowledge, if you are lucky enough, but don't understand how diagnoses affect people every day. Whether they struggle with complex issues like mine or are suffering from ADD, we all deserve the help. It is my passion to give a voice to the often voiceless. The need to destigmatize mental health issues, even some medical issues, has been vast in this country alone for so many years. Each generation tries or attempts to make this change but I think they are missing that certain something inside that makes you not give up, it's called being patient. With every fiber of my being, I know I will make a difference in this world through psychology no matter my approach to practicing it. So many people look at the financial aspect of college and give up, not me.
      Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
      Unfortunately for many people in the population, mental health issues are stigmatized. Labels like crazy, insane, psychopath, and many others are thrown around loosely without any regard for the human being who is internally struggling to cope and understand the complexity of their illnesses. They struggle in silence and often don’t seek the help that is needed because of the fear of being labeled. This has to change. People in my generation can make a massive change in the field of psychology and the sociological “norm.” The truth is that many people I know have struggled to even decide to ask for help. Their lives got out of control and the disease became bigger than what it had to be. If only they had asked for help sooner, many of those people would be here today. Although I am not fully comfortable sharing other people’s stories, I will share those I have permission to tell, because building trust is key when it comes to helping people. First I will use the example of my grandfather. To the outside world, he looked like the average middle-class man. He was funny, outgoing, and a joy to be around. His personality was almost infectious. He worked hard to support his family, yet a sign we missed was that he always worked alone. On July 26, 2001, he didn’t arrive home when he should have. After time passed, my mother and grandmother went to look for him, to no avail. On July 27, 2001, an officer showed up at their door at 2:37 am to announce that there had been an accident and he was at the hospital. My mom and grandma grabbed their belongings to rush to be by his side, and then an officer grabbed them and sat them down. My mother describes the next few moments as if time passes through an hourglass. The words “I am sorry ma’am” were all they had to hear. They knew what was about to be said, he was dead. No one knew why, someone who seemed to have it so put together and who loved their family so much, how could this happen? Why were there no signs, or did they miss them? Those answers for my family never came. They got the who, what, where, how, and when, but the why never came. He was one of those who suffered silently, without any inkling of red flags. Automatically, because he worked alone, he was labeled as depressed because of the manner of death being suicide. We automatically assume that he was depressed or bipolar but diagnoses like these can’t be made post-mortem. We will never know why or what he struggled with internally that led to that haste decision. The lesson that was taught in his fealty is that too many people choose a long-term consequence for a short-term struggle, especially one that could have been helped by a medical professional. My second story is about myself. I was diagnosed with an attachment disorder when I was 8, then came the diagnosis of ADD and depression by 10. At 13, I began struggling with severe medical issues. I cannot say that at some point in that period, I didn’t think of ending the pain. My mom, thank god, reiterated that lesson of not choosing a long-term consequence for a short-term issue. It was at 14 that I started mental health therapy. I went faithfully but most days it didn’t feel like it was helping. How could some doctor in a chair, who was timing me, really understand my issues? I started to notice every time I went I had to start at the beginning, which meant I was getting nowhere. It was at that moment that I decided that I knew I was going to make a difference in people’s lives, especially those who struggle with mental diseases. I did not choose to struggle emotionally, I never asked for any of it. I could not will it away nor imagine it didn’t exist. I had to come to terms with and learn more about my diagnosis to help myself. I continue to do this til this very day. I follow the medication protocol, the therapy, and visits with the psychiatrist but in my head, I know that their patterns are contributing to the stigma. We are just patients to them. They often don’t remember our names and not our stories, which are very personal. By the time you even get comfortable with one, they probably end up leaving the practice and you are back at ground zero. I have yet to find someone who cares about the patient. My struggles led me to pursue a career in psychology. I’m not just doing this for a high-paying job, it’s to help make a monumental change in the field and approach to treatment. I believe that there are huge benefits to peer counseling. People you can talk to that have walked a mile in your shoes. Although I am aware that there probably not be 2 patients with the same story, they can learn from each other how to use coping mechanisms and the benefits of medications. There is a stronger sense of anonymity between peers. Secrets stay secrets unless the cardinal rule is broken, if someone discusses the possibility of making one of those short-term problem decisions with long-term consequences. In my state this approach is illegal. However, this can fill a huge gap in the success rate of treatment. I strongly feel that mental health professionals take a hit to the ego in relying on their patients to help each other and that’s a problem. It shows that they have no faith in what treatment they are giving to that individual. That is where a change needs to be made, who knows, it can probably save a life.
      Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
      High school is supposed to be a time of unforgettable moments and memories, filled with fun times with friends, exciting trips, and memorable events like prom and sports games. But for me, high school was a time of immense struggle and obstacles. My medical issues seemed to mount with each passing year, and I felt increasingly isolated and different from my peers. It seemed like every time I turned around, I was facing a new diagnosis, a new challenge, and a new reason to question whether I was meant to succeed. But then, one day, someone said something to me that changed everything. They told me that if I put my dreams out into the universe, if I worked hard and did everything in my power to achieve them, then I deserved to succeed. Those words gave me the strength to keep going, even when things seemed impossibly tough. Throughout all my struggles, my grandmother was always there for me. She reminded me that being different wasn't a bad thing - in fact, it made me special, like a unicorn. She would comfort me when I came home from school, rubbing my bald head and telling me to stand strong, that it would all be over soon. When more medical issues arose, my grandmother would tell me that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know what that reason is yet. And when she fell ill, we grew even closer. Her illness made me realize just how precious every moment is, and how important it is to cherish the people around us. When my grandmother passed away, I was devastated. But even in her final moments, she reminded me that I was loved and that I could do anything. It was a difficult time, but I knew that I had to keep pushing forward. And so I did. Despite all the challenges I faced, I managed to graduate with honors and even made it into my dream university. My grandmother won't physically be there to see me walk across the stage, but I know that she'll be with me in spirit, cheering me on every step of the way. I've learned that life is unpredictable and that we never know what the future holds. But we can choose to live every day to the fullest, to accept the love and support of those around us, and to never give up on our dreams.
      Joieful Connections Scholarship
      Winner
      I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Caden Curry. I am originally from NY but have resided in South Carolina for 15 years. I began my schooling in this state and will complete it here as well. As a person, I am hardworking, focused, driven, and destined to achieve my goals in life. The only path forward to do so is attending college. For me, it was important to take that a step further and attend a 4-year university. Last fall, I submitted my application for admittance to Coastal Carolina University. This was the only school I applied to and had the faith in myself to get in. In November, I was elated when a piece of mail came from the university. As I was shaking, I opened the envelope and was overwhelmed that I had just received early acceptance into the university. Moreover,  as I read the letter I saw that I was also recognized as being welcomed with a Teal Scholar title due to academic achievements. My mother was so shocked because she was nervous about me being dead set on one select school. I was driven by my goal to achieve what I have always wanted, I was able to attend a university, something no one in my family has ever done. I did this by hard work and overcoming so many obstacles in my way. This is where I recognized a huge problem, finances. My mother struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and is on Social Security. There is no way that she could afford the tuition, she was adamant that I do not get caught up in student loans. There was never a minute I was discouraged, instead I pushed further. I promised myself that under no circumstance would I give up my dream no matter what the barricade was. Throughout the year I have ground pavement and looked up every scholarship under the sun and my fingers got to work. Although I do not know being accepted for any of them, I have faith that it is my purpose on Earth to help people, and no matter what my faith would make a way because if you ask the universe for it, and you deserve it, it will serve it. Due to my struggle with mental health & physical health, I know adversity. It is my wish to help people with the same issues I have. The world dealt me a not-so-great hand medically. One of my medical conditions is that there is no other male living with it in the world. That will never stop my purpose to help ease the mental toll medical issues take on people like me. Yes, doctors may have the medical knowledge, if you are lucky enough, but don't understand how diagnoses affect people every day. Whether they struggle with complex issues like mine or are suffering from ADD, we all deserve the help. It is my passion to give a voice to the often voiceless. The need to destigmatize mental health issues, even some medical issues, has been vast in this country alone for so many years. Each generation tries or attempts to make this change but I think they are missing that certain something inside that makes you not give up, it's called being patient. With every fiber of my being, I know I will make a difference in this world through psychology no matter my approach to practicing it. So many people look at the financial aspect of college and give up, not me.