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2021 Spring Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship Winners
Makenna Thomas and Jackson Sherman 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. Thomas’ winning written essay was selected after a competitive review by the Baron & Budd Scholarship committee. Her essay detailed her own struggle with cancer when she was diagnosed during her freshman year of high school. Thomas explained how she dealt with the emotional trauma caused by cancer and how she found the courage to rise above it.
“My life is in my hands now. I faced the vulnerabilities that were drowning me and began to grow from them. I learned to value my worth and use the strength, confidence, and determination I discovered to embrace this new version of myself. It empowered me to acknowledge that while I was different, it didn’t have to be a bad thing. Once I was able to accept the fact that cancer had changed me, I granted myself the permission to give my life the meaning it seemed to be missing. And it was that meaning which taught me that, although cancer had changed me, my growth was beautiful— and that’s what mattered the most,” wrote Thomas.
Thomas continues to have a positive attitude aimed toward helping others. She is attending the University of California Los Angeles where she is majoring in neuroscience.
Additionally, Jackson Sherman was selected by the Baron & Budd Scholarship committee as the video essay winner. His video focused on how cancer has affected many members in his family, particularly his great aunt. Sherman described the close relationship he has with his great aunt and how he has seen cancer drastically affect her health.
In a letter of recommendation, Sherman’s school counselor said, “Jackson has always maintained a positive attitude and a resilience you do not see in many adults, let alone teenagers… Jackson is a persistent, motivated worker and after taking all the art courses that our school offers, he decided to start our Art Club, a source of great pride for him. Within the classroom he is always kind and curious, asking as many questions as possible, but also making sure his peers have their answers and support. It is an interesting dynamic to witness a selfless teenager who is not only aware of his surroundings but strives to make sure his peers are as successful as he is.”
Sherman says art provides an outlet for him and way to cope with the grief he experiences from cancer. He will be attending the University of Hartford where he will pursue a degree in art, specifically illustration.
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. Baron & Budd’s scholarship program is open to individuals who will attend a US-based four-year university or college. For more information about the Baron & Budd Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarship, please visit baronandbudd.com/mesothelioma/scholarships/.