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2021 Fall Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship Winners
Jeyka Pérez Arocho and Ianka Alicea are the winners of the Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship. Each winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship paid directly to the financial aid accounts at their universities.
Applicants were asked to submit a written or video essay about how cancer has impacted their lives. Pérez Arocho’s winning written essay was selected after a competitive review by the Baron & Budd Scholarship committee. Her essay detailed the struggle of losing her mother to breast cancer when she was just a teenager. Years later, she was also devastated and shocked to learn that her older sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Pérez Arocho explained how she was inspired by her sister’s determination to overcome and defeat cancer. She decided she wanted to become a lawyer to help support her family and others going through similar experiences. Pérez Arocho is attending Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
In a recommendation letter, one friend said, “As I worked closely with Jeyka in the student association, we got close, and I got to learn about the hardships she has experienced given her mother’s passing due to breast cancer. However, what always impressed me about Ms. Pérez Arocho was that she never used her mom’s experience as an event for others to feel pity and if anything, she has used such experiences to live every day of life to the fullest while being passionate to support others in any role she is given. While Jeyka’s strength was “tested” again with her sister’s diagnosis in 2018, she used her leadership skills to organize herself and find ways to support her sister economically and emotionally.”
Additionally, Ianka Alicea was selected as the video essay winner. Her video focused on her mother’s recent breast cancer diagnosis and how it has affected her and her family. Alicea described the emotional and mental challenges she faced while dealing with her mother’s journey with cancer including learning to be brave even when she felt scared.
Friends describe Alicea as being dedicated to the service of others and a person who is “diligent, organized, committed, humble, and sensitive.” Alicea is also attending the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico where she is pursuing a degree in education to become a visual arts teacher. Alicea says art provides an outlet for her to express her emotions throughout her mom’s journey with cancer.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship was established to honor the legacy of the thousands of Americans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer every year. For more information about the Baron & Budd Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship, please visit baronandbudd.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/scholarships/.