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Lindsay Templeton

2705

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am a cancer survivor who wants to make a difference in others’ lives. I strive to become an emergency room physician in the United States Army. I am currently a member of Army ROTC in the GW Company of the Hoya Battalion and an SMP cadet in the DC Army National Guard. Additionally, I am a special events EMT for American Medical Response. To clarify gender: I identify as a nonbinary woman.

Education

George Washington University

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • Chemistry
  • Minors:
    • Medicine
    • Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Medical Systems, General

Enloe High

High School
2019 - 2023

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Chemistry
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Military

    • Dream career goals:

      Emergency Physician

    • EMT

      American Medical Response
      2024 – Present7 months
    • Servicemember

      DC Army National Guard
      2024 – Present7 months
    • Swim Coach

      NC State University Club
      2023 – 2023
    • Junior Board Member

      JUST TRYAN IT
      2021 – 20232 years
    • Family Relations Intern

      JUST TRYAN IT
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Kennel Technician

      Falls Village Veterinary Hospital
      2021 – 2021

    Sports

    Swimming

    Club
    2014 – 20228 years

    Awards

    • YOTA Award

    Swimming

    Varsity
    2019 – 20234 years

    Awards

    • Rookie of the Year
    • Most Outstanding Athlete

    Research

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

      University of Wisconsin-Madison (Rey Lab) — Intern
      2022 – 2022

    Arts

    • Orchestra

      Performance Art
      Concerts
      2016 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      JUST TRYAN IT — Volunteer, STAR, Junior Board Member
      2016 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    TEAM ROX Scholarship
    Normally when I share my story, I share how I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when I was three years old. I share how I spent 153 nights in the hospital over the course of six months. I share that, during that time, I developed a love of the movie Cars that continues to this day. And all of this is true. It’s part of my story. But it’s such a small part of it. The first time I shared my story in public was at JUST TRYAN IT’s second Chapel Hill triathlon, back in 2017. Among other things, I spoke about how I think I am a better person for having had cancer. I also talked about how cancer stories don’t end when treatment ends. They are ongoing. I’m at the point in my cancer story where I have a say in a lot of what happens, like how I chose to become so involved with JUST TRYAN IT. I am now JTI’s Family Relations Intern, which, essentially, means that I am the primary contact between the organization and the families we support. This means I get to know the families and their stories in a way that I didn’t before. And it’s hard. It means I am having conversations with families while they are enduring the worst part of their lives. It means I am one of the first people in the organization to learn when a STAR dies. It reminds me of the struggles my family went through and how my parents protected me from the emotional stress and anxiety they were facing while I was in treatment. But it’s also inspiring. It means I’m having conversations with families who are enduring the worst the world can throw at them, but they’re still making it work. It means I get to hear about children who are about as sick as they can be, persevering and finding joy in the things that really matter: making siblings laugh, having dance parties, and, of course, Disney movies. The most inspiring conversations I’ve had, have also been the most challenging. I’ve spoken to a few parents whose STARS have died in the past year. Those parents have been through hell and back and they’re still fighting. They’re still fighting for the memory of their child. They’re still fighting for the kids and the families who are still in treatment. They’re still fighting so that no one else has to go through what they’ve been through. This is why I say I’m better for having had cancer and it’s why I’m still at JUST TRYAN IT, 8 years after racing in my first race. I have witnessed tenacity like none other and can’t help but be inspired. The people here don’t back down. Not our STAR families. Not our racers. Not our volunteers. They keep coming back to help more families. This community has shaped me into who I am today. So I'm going to keep showing up as well, making sure JTI continues to be part of my story.
    Priscilla Shireen Luke Scholarship
    I’m gonna be honest: I struggled a lot writing this. I’ve shared my story more times than I can count, but for some reason, this time felt different. And I think it’s because of my experiences working at JUST TRYAN IT, an organization benefitting families of kids with cancer, interacting with other STAR (grant recipients) families. Normally when I share my story, I share how I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when I was three years old. I share how I spent 153 nights in the hospital over the course of six months. I share that, during that time, I developed a love of the movie Cars that continues to this day. And all of this is true. It’s part of my story. But it’s such a small part of it. The first time I shared my story in public was at JUST TRYAN IT’s second Chapel Hill triathlon, back in 2017. Among other things, I spoke about how I think I am a better person for having had cancer. I also talked about how cancer stories don’t end when treatment ends. They are ongoing. I’m at the point in my cancer story where I have a say in a lot of what happens, like how I chose to become so involved with JUST TRYAN IT. I am now JTI’s Family Relations Intern, which, essentially, means that I am the primary contact between the organization and the families we support. This means I get to know the families and their stories in a way that I didn’t before. And it’s hard. It means I am having conversations with families while they are enduring the worst part of their lives. It means I am one of the first people in the organization to learn when a STAR dies. It reminds me of the struggles my family went through and how my parents protected me from the emotional stress and anxiety they were facing while I was in treatment. But it’s also inspiring. It means I’m having conversations with families who are enduring the worst the world can throw at them, but they’re still making it work. It means I get to hear about children who are about as sick as they can be, persevering and finding joy in the things that really matter: making siblings laugh, having dance parties, and, of course, Disney movies. The most inspiring conversations I’ve had, have also been the most challenging. I’ve spoken to a few parents whose STARS have died in the past year. Those parents have been through hell and back and they’re still fighting. They’re still fighting for the memory of their child. They’re still fighting for the kids and the families who are still in treatment. They’re still fighting so that no one else has to go through what they’ve been through. This is why I say I’m better for having had cancer and it’s why I’m still at JUST TRYAN IT, 8 years after racing in my first race. I have witnessed tenacity like none other and can’t help but be inspired. The people here don’t back down. Not our STAR families. Not our racers. Not our volunteers. They keep coming back to help more families. This community has shaped me into who I am today. So I'm going to keep showing up as well, making sure JTI continues to be part of my story.
    Johnny Douglas Conner Memorial Scholarship
    I have always wanted to be a doctor. I am a cancer survivor and, because of my own experiences in healthcare, have always felt that urge to help others when they are sick and injured. In my senior year of high school, I earned my EMT certification and fell in love with both emergency and out-of-hospital medicine. I also met many paramedics who were or had been military service members and they helped me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in military medicine. I am now a freshman in college at George Washington University. I have not decided on a major yet, but I know it will be either biology or chemistry with a pre-med concentration. I am in Army ROTC with the Hoya Battalion and am a simultaneous membership cadet with the DC Army National Guard. Additionally, I have recently begun working as a special events EMT at American Medical Response and began emergency medical scribe classes through my school. And I’m loving it. My life is so busy - I wake up no later than five at least four mornings a week, I am taking mostly STEM classes this semester, and most months I have drill and ROTC field training. But I love it. I have found my passion. While I did not make the competition team, I practiced with the Ranger Challenge team for several weeks in September and am joining them again this semester as they restart practices. Ranger Challenge taught me how TCCC works, how to carry an injured battle buddy, and how to call a 9-line MEDEVAC request. I also learned non-medical skills, like grenade-throwing, weapons assembly and disassembly, and how to make a Swiss harness and one-rope bridge. I felt alive with purpose during those sessions and was excited to wake up every morning, even as early as it was. I did not make the decision to join ROTC lightly. I knew that, as a woman, I couldn’t and there are obvious risks when joining the military in general. My parents were incredibly reluctant to support my decision, but now that they see me growing and thriving and surrounding myself with equally passionate and dedicated individuals, I think they know it is the right decision as well. They know I want to help people in any way that I can, and they know that this path will allow me to do that. Whether rescuing people in hurricanes or being deployed to treat soldiers in combat, they know that this is my calling.
    Patriots Path Scholarship
    Winner
    I have always wanted to be a doctor. I am a cancer survivor and, because of my own experiences in healthcare, have always felt that urge to help others when they are sick and injured. In my senior year of high school, I earned my EMT certification and fell in love with both emergency and out-of-hospital medicine. I also met many paramedics who were or had been military service members and they helped me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in military medicine. I am now a freshman in college at George Washington University. I have not decided on a major yet, but I know it will be either biology or chemistry with a pre-med concentration. I am in Army ROTC with the Hoya Battalion and am a simultaneous membership cadet with the DC Army National Guard. Additionally, I have recently begun working as a special events EMT at American Medical Response and began emergency medical scribe classes through my school. And I’m loving it. My life is so busy - I wake up no later than five at least four mornings a week, I am taking mostly STEM classes this semester, and most months I have drill and ROTC field training. But I love it. I have found my passion. While I did not make the competition team, I practiced with the Ranger Challenge team for several weeks in September and am joining them again this semester as they restart practices. Ranger Challenge taught me how TCCC works, how to carry an injured battle buddy, and how to call a 9-line MEDEVAC request. I also learned non-medical skills, like grenade-throwing, weapons assembly and disassembly, and how to make a Swiss harness and one-rope bridge. I felt alive with purpose during those sessions and was excited to wake up every morning, even as early as it was. I did not make the decision to join ROTC lightly. I knew that, as a woman, I couldn’t and there are obvious risks when joining the military in general. My parents were incredibly reluctant to support my decision, but now that they see me growing and thriving and surrounding myself with equally passionate and dedicated individuals, I think they know it is the right decision as well. They know I want to help people in any way that I can, and they know that this path will allow me to do that. Whether rescuing people in hurricanes or being deployed to treat soldiers in combat, they know that this is my calling.
    Jeannine Schroeder Women in Public Service Memorial Scholarship
    Hi! I’m Lindsay! I’m gonna be honest: I struggled a lot writing this. I’ve shared my story more times than I can count, but for some reason, this time felt different. And I think it’s because of my experiences working at JUST TRYAN IT, an organization providing grants to families of kids with cancer, and interacting with those other STAR (grant recipients) families. Normally when I share my story, I share how I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when I was three years old. I share how I spent 153 nights in the hospital over the course of six months. I share that, during that time, I developed a love of the movie Cars that continues to this day. And all of this is true. It’s part of my story. But it’s such a small part of it. The first time I shared my story in public was at JUST TRYAN IT’s second Chapel Hill triathlon, back in 2017. Among other things, I spoke about how I think I am a better person for having had cancer. I also talked about how cancer stories don’t end when treatment ends. They are ongoing. I’m at the point in my cancer story where I have a say in a lot of what happens, like how I chose to become so involved with JUST TRYAN IT. I am now JTI’s Family Relations Intern, which, essentially, means that I am the primary contact between the organization and the families we support. This means I get to know the families and their stories in a way that I didn’t before. And it’s hard. It means I am having conversations with families while they are enduring the worst part of their lives. It means I am one of the first people in the organization to learn when a STAR dies. It reminds me of the struggles my family went through and how my parents protected me from the emotional stress and anxiety they were facing while I was in treatment. But it’s also inspiring. It means I’m having conversations with families who are enduring the worst the world can throw at them, but they’re still making it work. It means I get to hear about children who are about as sick as they can be, persevering and finding joy in the things that really matter: making siblings laugh, having dance parties, and, of course, Disney movies. The most inspiring conversations I’ve had, have also been the most challenging. I’ve spoken to a few parents whose STARS have died in the past year. Those parents have been through hell and back and they’re still fighting. They’re still fighting for the memory of their child. They’re still fighting for the kids and the families who are still in treatment. They’re still fighting so that no one else has to go through what they’ve been through. This is why I say I’m better for having had cancer and it’s why I’m still here at JUST TRYAN IT, 8 years after racing in my first race. I have witnessed tenacity like none other and can’t help but be inspired. The people here don’t back down. Not our STAR families. Not our racers. Not our volunteers. They keep coming back to help more families. This community has shaped me into who I am today. So as long as you all are still showing up, I’ll be here as well, keeping JTI part of my story.
    Bold.org x Forever 21 Scholarship + Giveaway
    @lindsay_w_templeton
    Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
    When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, my parents made the decision to stay with me while I was in treatment. The hospital was an hour from where we lived, so my parents split duties: taking turns sleeping on my room’s guest cot or with my brother in the Ronald McDonald House across the street. Our dogs went to live with my grandparents. My dad was already a stay-at-home dad and my mom was able to get some paid time off. But cancer treatment is expensive, and my mom had graduated from veterinary school only a year previously, so my family did not yet have a strong financial safety net. Eventually, my mom had to go back to work, driving a two-hour round trip every day so that she could still be with me at night. Families should not be forced to choose between life-saving medicine and being present for their sick child. Often, the choice is not even that simple. Costs like transportation, food, and utilities are often additional limiting factors. According to Dr. Kira Bona, a pediatric oncologist at Dana Farber researching how socio-economic disparities affect childhood cancer patients, poverty and economic hardship correlate with worse overall outcomes, including “higher rates of relapse, decreased overall survival, and higher symptom burden.” When a patient cannot afford commodities that are keeping them healthy, chemotherapy will not be as successful as it could be. I currently serve as Chair of the Family Relations Committee for the organization JUST TRYAN IT. JUST TRYAN IT’s mission is to provide financial assistance for families of kids with cancer. My role is to be the first person from the organization that grantees hear from. I communicate with parents who are in extreme distress: emotionally and financially. It is not uncommon for parents to have to choose between basic necessities for their family and treatment for a child with cancer. Some are forced to give up pets. Many miss important appointments because they have no means of transportation. Working with these families and attending related functions, such as the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018, has shown me the importance of healthcare policy and patient advocacy. I have wanted to work in healthcare since I was nine, initially as a pediatric oncologist. My goal now is to become a pediatric emergency room physician. I have realized that I am better suited to the fast-paced, high-intensity environment of emergency medicine. I am currently working to earn my EMT certification, and plan to work as an EMT through college to continue my exposure to the field of medicine and help pay for college. This provides a strong safety net in case medical school is too expensive, especially considering my college savings were impacted by the expenses of cancer. I will be able to continue to work in emergency medicine, and could even earn my paramedic’s license. More importantly, EMT training is confirming my love for medicine and that I belong in the fast-paced environment of emergency work. I am a cancer survivor. The financial and emotional stress that came with my diagnosis was real and significant, but the positive impact I am able to have by helping other sick families far outweighs the challenges we faced. Cancer advocacy and healthcare are more than a career to me. It is as much a part of who I am as being a cancer survivor.
    Maverick Grill and Saloon Scholarship
    When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, my parents made the decision to stay with me while I was in treatment. The hospital was an hour from where we lived, so my parents split duties: taking turns sleeping on my room’s guest cot or with my brother in the Ronald McDonald House across the street. Our dogs went to live with my grandparents. My dad was already a stay-at-home dad and my mom was able to get some paid time off. But cancer treatment is expensive, and my mom had graduated from veterinary school only a year previously, so my family did not yet have a strong financial safety net. Eventually, my mom had to go back to work, driving a two-hour round trip every day so that she could still be with me at night. Families should not be forced to choose between life-saving medicine and being present for their sick child. Often, the choice is not even that simple. Costs like transportation, food, and utilities are often additional limiting factors. According to Dr. Kira Bona, a pediatric oncologist at Dana Farber researching how socio-economic disparities affect childhood cancer patients, poverty and economic hardship correlate with worse overall outcomes, including “higher rates of relapse, decreased overall survival, and higher symptom burden.” When a patient cannot afford commodities that are keeping them healthy, chemotherapy will not be as successful as it could be. I currently serve as Chair of the Family Relations Committee for the organization JUST TRYAN IT. JUST TRYAN IT’s mission is to provide financial assistance for families of kids with cancer. My role is to be the first person from the organization that grantees hear from. I communicate with parents who are in extreme distress: emotionally and financially. It is not uncommon for parents to have to choose between basic necessities for their family and treatment for a child with cancer. Some are forced to give up pets. Many miss important appointments because they have no means of transportation. Working with these families and attending related functions, such as the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018, has shown me the importance of healthcare policy and patient advocacy. I have wanted to work in healthcare since I was nine, initially as a pediatric oncologist. My goal now is to become a pediatric emergency room physician. I have realized that I am better suited to the fast-paced, high-intensity environment of emergency medicine. I am currently working to earn my EMT certification, and plan to work as an EMT through college to continue my exposure to the field of medicine and help pay for college. This provides a strong safety net in case medical school is too expensive, especially considering my college savings were impacted by the expenses of cancer. I will be able to continue to work in emergency medicine, and could even earn my paramedic’s license. More importantly, EMT training is confirming my love for medicine and that I belong in the fast-paced environment of emergency work. I am a cancer survivor. The financial and emotional stress that came with my diagnosis was real and significant, but the positive impact I am able to have by helping other sick families far outweighs the challenges we faced. Cancer advocacy and healthcare are more than a career to me. It is as much a part of who I am as being a cancer survivor.
    Richard Neumann Scholarship
    When I was diagnosed with cancer, my parents made the decision to stay with me while I was in treatment. The hospital was an hour from where we lived, so my parents split duties: taking turns sleeping on my room’s guest cot or with my brother in the Ronald McDonald House across the street. Our dogs went to live with my grandparents. My dad was already a stay-at-home dad and my mom was able to get some paid time off. But cancer treatment is expensive, and my mom had graduated from veterinary school only a year previously, so my family did not yet have a strong financial safety net. Eventually, my mom had to go back to work, driving a two hour round trip every day so that she could still be with me at night. Families should not be forced to choose between life-saving medicine and being present for their sick child. Often, the choice is not even that simple. Costs like transportation, food, and utilities are often additional limiting factors. According to Dr. Kira Bona, a pediatric oncologist at Dana Farber researching how socio-economic disparities affect childhood cancer patients, poverty and economic hardship correlate with worse overall outcomes, including “higher rates of relapse, decreased overall survival, and higher symptom burden.” When a patient cannot afford commodities that are keeping them healthy, chemotherapy will not be as successful as it could be. I want to make childhood cancer families’ financial decisions easier. I work for an organization called JUST TRYAN IT that financially assists families of kids with cancer. We provide grants to families to help them pay for things like gas, mortgages, and groceries. We only help families in the DC area and in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, but there are organizations like ours that help families all over the nation. My goal is to create a database to help families access these grants. This database will allow families to search for grants specific to their location, diagnosis, grant use, and/or amount needed. It will tell them about the application process and provide information that will help them begin their application. Ultimately, the goal of the database is to provide families of childhood cancer patients an easier way to navigate financial assistance. In most cases, a families’ primary resource in hospitals is their social worker. Social workers are wonderful, but are often understaffed and under-supported. When families know exactly what they need, or exactly what to ask for, it can make the process easier for both the social worker and the family, and it gives the family more confidence and sense of control in their future. Childhood cancer is expensive on many levels. It can cause long-lasting financial disparity and forces families to make impossible choices. A database of grants for childhood cancer families will help these families take control of their futures and lead to better patient outcomes.
    Herb Collins Scholarship
    When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, my parents made the decision to stay with me while I was in treatment. The hospital was an hour from where we lived, so my parents split duties: taking turns sleeping on my room’s guest cot or with my brother in the Ronald McDonald House across the street. Our dogs went to live with my grandparents. My dad was already a stay-at-home dad and my mom was able to get some paid time off. But cancer treatment is expensive, and my mom had graduated from veterinary school only a year previously, so my family did not yet have a strong financial safety net. Eventually, my mom had to go back to work, driving a two-hour round trip every day so that she could still be with me at night. Families should not be forced to choose between life-saving medicine and being present for their sick child. Often, the choice is not even that simple. Costs like transportation, food, and utilities are often additional limiting factors. According to Dr. Kira Bona, a pediatric oncologist at Dana Farber researching how socio-economic disparities affect childhood cancer patients, poverty and economic hardship correlate with worse overall outcomes, including “higher rates of relapse, decreased overall survival, and higher symptom burden.” When a patient cannot afford commodities that are keeping them healthy, chemotherapy will not be as successful as it could be. I currently serve as Chair of the Family Relations Committee for the organization JUST TRYAN IT. JUST TRYAN IT’s mission is to provide financial assistance for families of kids with cancer. My role is to be the first person from the organization that grantees hear from. I communicate with parents who are in extreme distress: emotionally and financially. It is not uncommon for parents to have to choose between basic necessities for their family and treatment for a child with cancer. Some are forced to give up pets. Many miss important appointments because they have no means of transportation. Working with these families and attending related functions, such as the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018, has shown me the importance of healthcare policy and patient advocacy. I have wanted to work in healthcare since I was nine, initially as a pediatric oncologist. My goal now is to become a pediatric emergency room physician. I have realized that I am better suited to the fast-paced, high-intensity environment of emergency medicine. I am currently working to earn my EMT certification, and plan to work as an EMT through college to continue my exposure to the field of medicine and help pay for college. This provides a strong safety net in case medical school is too expensive, especially considering my college savings were impacted by the expenses of cancer. I will be able to continue to work in emergency medicine, and could even earn my paramedic’s license. More importantly, EMT training is confirming my love for medicine and that I belong in the fast-paced environment of emergency work. I am a cancer survivor. The financial and emotional stress that came with my diagnosis was real and significant, but the positive impact I am able to have by helping other sick families far outweighs the challenges we faced. Cancer advocacy and healthcare are more than a career to me. It is as much a part of who I am as being a cancer survivor.
    Kevin R. Mabee Memorial Scholarship
    The first step on my vegan journey took place when I was nine and I learned that calves are separated from their mothers at birth so that all of the cows’ milk can be sold for human consumption. At that age, I had difficulty grasping more complicated concepts like carbon emissions and animal exploitation, but I knew how I would have felt if I had been separated from my own mother. I decided to stop drinking milk. It took many more years for me to transition to completely vegan, or even stop eating cheese. In eighth grade, my class read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan was not attempting to convert his readers to veganism, but the vivid nature of his depictions of animal death made it more difficult for me to stomach eating meat. The section of the book in which Pollan works on the farm where slaughtering your meat with your own hands is the goal helped me realize that, if I cannot stomach killing the animal, I have no right to eat it. The final nail in the coffin for me was my health. I am a cancer survivor. When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. For the next six months, the ninth floor of Brenner Children's Hospital became my home. I trick-or-treated at the nurse’s station dressed as Sally from the movie Cars. We celebrated my mom's birthday in my hospital room. On Christmas morning, my brother played the kazoo while I pretended to be a ballerina before my parents let me ride a small scooter through the halls of the pediatric cancer ward. Our lives were an unnerving juxtaposition of Hotwheels and IV drips. After spending 153 nights in the hospital, all of my hair falling out, and watching Cars more times than I can count, I beat the leukemia. But beating cancer does not mean the journey is over; being a cancer survivor is still an integral part of who I am. Healthcare - both in general and for myself - is a huge priority in my life because of my past experiences. For a long time, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. My goal is now to become a pediatric emergency room physician. I have realized that I am better suited to the fast-paced, high-intensity environment of emergency medicine. I am currently working to earn my EMT certification, and plan to work as an EMT through college to continue my exposure to the field of medicine and help pay for college. This provides a strong safety net in case medical school is too expensive, especially considering my college savings were impacted by the expenses of cancer. I will be able to continue to work in emergency medicine, and could even earn my paramedic’s license. More importantly, EMT training is confirming my love for medicine and that I belong in the fast-paced environment of emergency work. I strive to be as healthy as I can be and last year I realized that meant going vegan. I eliminated dairy first, and many of the GI issues I had been experiencing disappeared. That made the leap to total veganism much easier, and with the addition of a B12 supplement, I have never felt healthier nor happier! I feel more connected with the world around me and I am comforted by the fact that my nourishment does not come at the harm of an animal.
    Kristen McCartney Perseverance Scholarship
    When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, my parents made the decision to stay with me while I was in treatment. The hospital was an hour from where we lived, so my parents split duties: taking turns sleeping on my room’s guest cot or with my brother in the Ronald McDonald House across the street. Our dogs went to live with my grandparents. My dad was already a stay-at-home dad and my mom was able to get some paid time off. But cancer treatment is expensive, and my mom had graduated from veterinary school only a year previously, so my family did not yet have a strong financial safety net. Eventually, my mom had to go back to work, driving a two-hour round trip every day so that she could still be with me at night. Families should not be forced to choose between life-saving medicine and being present for their sick child. Often, the choice is not even that simple. Costs like transportation, food, and utilities are often additional limiting factors. According to Dr. Kira Bona, a pediatric oncologist at Dana Farber researching how socio-economic disparities affect childhood cancer patients, poverty and economic hardship correlate with worse overall outcomes, including “higher rates of relapse, decreased overall survival, and higher symptom burden.” When a patient cannot afford commodities that are keeping them healthy, chemotherapy will not be as successful as it could be. I currently serve as Chair of the Family Relations Committee for the organization JUST TRYAN IT. JUST TRYAN IT’s mission is to provide financial assistance for families of kids with cancer. My role is to be the first person from the organization that grantees hear from. I communicate with parents who are in extreme distress: emotionally and financially. It is not uncommon for parents to have to choose between basic necessities for their family and treatment for a child with cancer. Some are forced to give up pets. Many miss important appointments because they have no means of transportation. Working with these families and attending related functions, such as the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018, has shown me the importance of healthcare policy and patient advocacy. I have wanted to work in healthcare since I was nine, initially as a pediatric oncologist. My goal now is to become a pediatric emergency room physician. I have realized that I am better suited to the fast-paced, high-intensity environment of emergency medicine. I am currently working to earn my EMT certification, and plan to work as an EMT through college to continue my exposure to the field of medicine and help pay for college. This provides a strong safety net in case medical school is too expensive, especially considering my college savings were impacted by the expenses of cancer. I will be able to continue to work in emergency medicine, and could even earn my paramedic’s license. More importantly, EMT training is confirming my love for medicine and that I belong in the fast-paced environment of emergency work. I am a cancer survivor. The financial and emotional stress that came with my diagnosis was real and significant, but the positive impact I am able to have by helping other sick families far outweighs the challenges we faced. Cancer advocacy and healthcare are more than a career to me. It is as much a part of who I am as being a cancer survivor.
    Eric C. Egan Memorial Scholarship
    Cancer-related financial toxicity is a major issue in the childhood cancer community; furthermore, it is an issue that has affected my family directly. As a childhood cancer survivor, my family struggled to make ends meet for a significant part of my childhood. This experience led me to join JUST TRYAN IT (JTI), an organization that financially supports families of kids with cancer, and through them I was also able to attend the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018. I was three years old when I was diagnosed with leukemia. After 153 nights in the hospital, I was pronounced cancer-free. My parents thought the hardship was over, but what they did not know was the fear and stress they would feel daily for years to come. They feared that I would relapse, but they also feared the financial burden cancer had caused would overwhelm them. I was lucky: my parents shielded my brother and me from their fear. Instead of projecting their anxieties onto us, they taught us to take action and give back to our community. Years later, when I joined the organization JUST TRYAN IT, I finally learned that my family had experienced cancer-related financial toxicity. The financial burden of cancer made it difficult to afford basics like groceries, preschool, transportation, and the mortgage. This is not uncommon: according to Family Reach, JTI’s parent organization, financial toxicity occurs in at least one third of families who go through cancer. In many families, the combination of financial and medical stress can contribute to divorce or neglect of children. In 2018, JUST TRYAN IT participated in the Biden Cancer Summit, and I attended as a guest. I learned that when a child is diagnosed with cancer, parents must choose to either stay with their sick child during treatment or continue working. This is a very difficult decision: parents who choose not to stay with their child will no doubt be racked with fear and guilt, and their children may lack necessary emotional support. However, parents who decide to stay with their child may lose their job, or spend months on unpaid leave. When I was in treatment, my mom chose to stay with me in the hospital so that we could be a family. She decreased her hours from full time to 1-2 days weekly. On nights she worked, she traveled two hours to and from the hospital so that she could see me. Many families are not as lucky as mine, though, and this knowledge has motivated me as I fundraise and foster relationships with families in treatment. My family has come a long way since the terrifying days of the hospital. I have been in remission for 13 years, despite a diagnosis with a 40-50% chance of relapse. Other than asthma, I am in good health, unlike the 90-95% of AML survivors who face significant complications due to treatment. We are no longer in financial distress, though with college approaching we do still live on a relatively tight budget. As JUST TRYAN IT’s first Junior Board Member, I maintain relationships with families facing pediatric cancer. I also help to organize fundraisers to combat cancer-related financial toxicity. I continue to share my story and do my best to show people that there is hope. Cancer and financial stress could have interfered with my work. Instead, I have had a hand in raising approximately $255,000 for JUST TRYAN IT. I look forward to pursuing higher education at a four year university career and a career in emergency medicine and healthcare policy.