Forum400 Recipient

Kassidy Heintz

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Florida Atlantic University

 I was only seven years old when my mother was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer. For the first two years, my mother had a lot of surgeries and therapies, and was even bedridden for nine months straight. This forced me to grow up a lot faster than my classmates. I didn’t fully grasp why my mom was so sick, but I did understand that I had to be mature and strong.
Although my mom was declared cancer-free when I was ten, she had multiple recurrences of cancer. To make my life even more challenging, my parents got divorced when I was in eighth grade, and that took a lot of money out of my parent’s pockets to finalize. With so much on my mind, it was difficult to focus on school, but my parents taught me to never give up.
My freshman year was amazing. My mom had beaten her fourth recurrence, I was playing for my school soccer team, I had good grades, good friends, and my mom and I were closer than ever. This euphoria continued into sophomore year.

Unfortunately, her cancer did come back at the beginning of the summer before junior year, and it was diagnosed as terminal. At this point, I had to get a job to help with groceries and car insurance. I also had to give up soccer, which was devastating to me because I had planned to play in college. I worked through the sadness of having to quit soccer, knowing that this was just one more adversity I had to overcome. I began my junior year with a 3.5 GPA and almost all honors and AP classes.

In October 2019, my mother passed away in hospice care and everything changed. My best friend was gone. I thought I was never going to recover from the loss. I wanted to make her proud, so despite her passing and the emotional toll it took on me, I pushed myself harder than I’ve ever pushed before; I got my grades back up to A’s and B’s, I went back to work, I paid for most of my new car, and I made a 4.1 GPA. None of it was easy, and there were many long days when I had to work 6 days a week to save money for college since my mom did not have any kind of life insurance policy in her name. I believe that if she did have a life insurance policy, I would still be working at my job the same amount because all of the money from her death would have been put into my college funds and I would not have to stress constantly about how I am going to pay for my 4-year degree and then medical school on top of that.

My life has been changed forever. My college plans have been very stressful, however, they have not waivered. I wish to become a dermatologist with the simple goal of just helping people who need me, just like my I am confident that my learned ability to be resilient and to succeed in my pursuits, even when the world throws what seem to be insurmountable obstacles in my path, is an ability that will serve me well in college and beyond.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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