WINNERS

2019

Mikayla E. Lawless is from Groveland, MA and will be pursuing a degree in Nursing at Endicott College. She has Ehlers Danlos Hypermobile which requires her to use a wheelchair when she is experiencing shoulder or hip pain. "Living with Ehlers Danlos Hypermobile has been the easier part of my life. The long sleepless nights when my shoulder  just wasn't in the socket right, the braces that covered my entire body as I went to school. It is more of how the outside world viewed me when my disability began to show the greatly impacted my life." 

Alexandrya A. Robinson is from Caldwell, ID and will be pursuing a degree in Microbiology at the University of Hawaii. She has Ehlers Danlos, PTSD, Chronic Pain, Depression, Occipital Neuralgia and other disorders. At the age of seven she was involved in an auto accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. "My doctor that told me I was never going to be able to do what I wanted in life was wrong. He was baffled when I took my first step after the car accident and I fully intend to continue to baffle anyone's expectations - even my own."

Luke D. Luckey is from Ann Harbor, MI and will be pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan. He lived his first 9 years of his life in an orphanage in China where treatment for Hemophilia was inadequate. "Getting around in the orphanage was hard, because I had no crutches or wheelchair. I mainly used my left leg to get from one place to another. The pain that I endured transformed me into a strong and passionate person who is capable of doing anything."

Evan P. Bean is from Trumbell, CT and will be pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Evan was diagnosed with gastroparesis (low gastric motility) a chronic disorder that causes severe abdominal cramping and pain, chest discomfort and difficulty breathing. "My gastroparesis exhibits itself in severe, random abdominal pain that is incapacitating. nausea, and vomiting. It usually comes in waves, every month or so knocking me out for a few days. It is not fun."

Lexi E. Cotrell is from Oxford, NC and will be pursuing a degree in Biology at North Carolina State University. When she was 2 years old she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) a progressive life-threatening disease that causes lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. "For this reason, minimizing contact with germs and doing airway clearance is important for me to protect my lungs and keep them healthy for as long as I can."

Brayden R. Reeves is from Burleson, TX and will be pursuing a degree in Information Technology at McMurry University. Brayden received his Austism diagnosis at the age of 4. "I have always struggled with social skills. And for me, that means people understanding me and at the same time, me understanding them. I know this world does not revolve around me but if others could have compassion, acceptance, and patience for those that need extra time communicating, society would be a better place."

Samantha D. Williams is from Concord, NC and will be pursuing a degree in International Studies at Meredith College. At 6 months old she had a stroke and has Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy. "As a disabled person, I have been bullied or overlooked in a group or class because people don't know how to deal with me. It is due to this that I have decided to major in International Studies and the healthcare field."

Rachel R. Ritchey is from York, PA and will be pursuing a degree in Communications at Millersville University. At the age of 5 she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and recently, binge eating, anxiety, and depression. "My conditions do not define me, but rather the steps I take to live out my life the way I envision it with them. I find myself in dark places sometimes, but I know they are only temporary because I will get better."

2018

Rachel L. Carden is from Mt. Washington, KY and will be pursuing a degree in Health Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University.  Rachel has Lyme Disease, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, Primary Immunoglobulin Deficiency to name a few.  "I am able to do everything anyone else would do, even though all of these illnesses should be debilitating.  I learned how strong I am, and how much perseverance I can show."

Adrian C. Chan is from Centennial, CO and will be pursuing a degree in biochemistry at UCLA.  He has severe Hemophilia B.  "For Fourteen years, I saw Hemophilia as my own personal problem that no one at school could relate to. But after getting into an accident with a fellow classmate during my junior year, I realized my purpose in life and I started the Regis Jesuit Hemophilia Society.  We spread awareness and fundraise to support a child with Hemophilia from another part of the world through Save one Life."

Kelsey R. Dobson is from San Francisco, CA and will be pursuing a business marketing degree at St. John's University.  Kelsey has had to battle Cystic Fibrosis for most of her life.  "CF has always been my life, it is what's normal to me.  The overwhelming number of medications create an impact on my life, because I have to alter the way I live every dat.  I live to strengthen my lungs, not let the sustain my weakness."

Ayiani B. Gallaspy-Seaman is from Kountze, TX and will be pursuing a Pre-Med degree at the University of Texas.  She has Ehlers Danlos, POTS, and Gillian Barre Syndrome.  "I have learned how to focus on the positive aspects of what my health has taught me.  Some people let the flames of life burn them, I chose to let the flames refine me, teach me, direct me, and become motivation to pursue a career in nursing."

Anna E. King is from Mayfield, NY and will be pursuing a graphic design degree at Lasell College.  She suffers from Immuno-suppression due to a heart transplant.  "At the age of 12, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and needed a heart transplant to live.  Since receiving my heart at age 14, I've dedicated service as a public speaker to promote organ donation across the country."

Emma R. Lockwood is from Cincinnati, OH and will be pursuing a graphic design degree at Miami University.  Emma has Spinal Muscular Atrophy(SMA) and Crohn's.  "Even though SMA causes my muscles to not work properly, my parents taught me that life is not about my (dis)abilities; never give up and reach out to others in need.  My struggles with SMA have strengthened my character, service, leadership, and scholarship; these pillars have always structured my life."

Jessica M. Nolan is from Lebanon, NJ and will be pursuing a degree towards Psychology Research at Monmouth University.  She has suffered from Kleine Levin Syndrome.  "After the long journey I endured, I wanted to share my story. I created a blog to raise awareness and motivate people to keep going no matter what may come their way.  I wanted to inspire people to persevere like I so proudly did."

McKenzie J. Poetzel is from Menomonee Falls, WI and will be pursuing a degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Madison Wisconsin.  When she was nine years old she developed Ulcerative Colitis.  "It has taught me that I am resilient. I have experienced immense pain and suffered physically, mentally and emotionally.  Every day I tackle new battles head on.  Despite my setbacks, I pride myself in my resiliency to succeed in academics, athletics, jobs and service."

2017

Allison N. Blackman is from West Jordan, Utah and will be pursuing an Art degree as Snow College.  Allison has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome(EDS) which is a hypermobility and joint condition, so her joints never stay in place like they should and often move too far the wrong way so she needs to wear braces.  "I plan to be as independent as I can.  My family and I have invested in Assistive Technologies, and I hope I'm able to receive additional devices in the upcoming future to help me be more independent. Being independent is extremely important to me and I hope that one day I will be able to fully support myself, including medical expenses caused by my chronic illness."

Nicholas T. Evola is from Miller Place, NY and will be pursuing a degree in nursing at Sacred Heart University.  Nicholas has Super Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT) which causes his heart to beat extremely fast and he has undergone numerous surgeries for.  I will be under a Cardiologists care for the rest of my life, but I realize it's better than the alternative.  I would like to help others who are struggling with an illness that they can't control.  I realize I have to deal with the things I am in control of and give over the power to others who can help me get better."

Kelsey J. Redd is from Millersville, Maryland and will be pursuing a degree in sign language interpretation at the University of North Carolina.  Kelsey has Long QT Syndrome which is attacks on her body causing her to pass out.  "My heart has changed me, no arguing with that fact; but what have I become?  I have become a leader; I am someone who makes no excuses.  I am someone who earns what they have.  I am someone who takes the short end of the stick and makes a roaring flame bigger than anyone could imagine.  I made something out of nothing.  I realized I am  here for a reason.  I am here to show the world anything is possible."

Calynn R. Vitus is from Hagaman, NY and will be pursuing a degree in Engineering at RPI.  When Calynn was 12 she was diagnosed with Leukemia and fighting for her life.  "Waking up every day healthy and alive is not something to take for granted.  I realized I must cherish the moments I have, right in front of me, at this very second because soon enough before I or anyone else will notice, they will be gone.  I started to be more positive, more happy and full of life.  I started to view everyday situations and the obstacles that faced me differently.  I became more grateful for my life, the people in it and everything else I had been blessed with:"

 2016 

Sadie E. Dunne is from Clifton Park, NY and will be pursuing a nursing degree at Mount Saint Mary College. When she turned 11, Sadie was losing energy, drinking water excessively and going to the bathroom until she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  "I believe that being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes has made the greatest difference in my life.  It made me grow up quickly and made me realize that life is precious.  Perhaps diabetes has helped me the most by teaching me right from wrong, how to be kind, and considerate and non-judgmental of others."

Kerry A. Golden is from Delmar, NY and will be pursuing a degree in communications at Quinnipiac University.  Kerry was born with 

exotropia, convergence insufficiency with refractive error.  Exotropia is a muscle condition where one eye turns outward when both eyes are open.  Her other condition, results in blurred vision or double vision, making school work very difficult.  "At the start of the school year I was very discouraged and felt different than everyone else when I was taken out of the room for an alternate site when testing.  However, as a result of my hard work and perseverance, I realized that I am capable of achieving success."

Justin M. Horbacz is from Ocean, NJ and will be pursuing a biology degree at the University of Florida.  Justin was born with severe Hemophilia A but has had much optimistic and encouraging guidance in his life from his family.  "My family and I sponsor 30 children with hemophilia from 6 developing countries through Save One Life.  Experiences related to living with hemophilia have helped shape the person I have become today. How I take advantage of these experiences from my background in pursuit of my goals is what I am most proud of.  It has been my own personal initiative that has solidified my goal to study medicine and become a pediatric Hematologist."

Ryan J. Majinski is from New Berlin, WI and will be pursuing a degree in biomedical science at the University of Wisconsin.  Ryan has moderate Hemophilia A and was unaware of his Hemophilia until the age of 5 when he bit his tongue and it bled for a week until being diagnosed.  "I was initially embarrassed about my disorder.  It made me different from the other children my age and I resented the disparity.  Throughout all the challenges in life, having hemophilia has certainly turned out to be a positive one. It has made me the cautious and caring person that I am today, and it eventually led me to meet my friends and discover my passion for theater."

Jacob M. Mazuryk is from Schenectady, NY and is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Union College.  Jacob has had Type 1 Diabetes for over ten years and sees many positives from having this chronic disorder.  "From an early age I was taught how to manage my diabetes.  I administered my own insulin through a syringe when I was 7 years old.  My long-term well-being and quality of life depend on how carefully I manage my diabetes. Diabetes has taught many math skills, juggling he art of balance, communicating with many amazing insightful people and to learn to be a happy and healthy human being."

Aniela C. Wilcenski is from Ballston Lake, NY and is pursuing a degree in English and Writing at Columbia University.  Aniela has severe bi-lateral multi-directional shoulder instability.  By the time she was diagnosed, her shoulders were is so much pain and limited that she couldn't open doors, put on a seatbelt, or lift her arms.  My struggles with my shoulders taught me that I have the power to achieve whatever I put my mind to, both in terms of recovery and rehabilitation and in terms of overcoming any mental and physical obstacles I encounter.  They remind me that there is always a way to make the best out of even the most negative situation."

                                                                                                        2015

Rachel H. Barcellona is from Palm Harbor, Fl and will be attending St. Petersburg College to pursue a degree in Psychology.  Rachel was first diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at the age of 3.  "I believe that Autism is not an excuse for anything.  Everyone has a mountain to climb and Autism has been my mountain; it has been my opportunity for victory.  I have become involved with several organizations by giving back to the community, one them being C.A.R.D.(Center for Autism and Related Disorders).  

Julia C. Dursi is from Balwin Place, NY and will be attending Johns Hopkins University to pursue a business or Pre-Med degrree.  The beginning of Julie's 9th grade, she could no longer understand most of what people spoke to her about, barely muster enough energy to get out of bed or go to school; she has Chronic Lyme disease.  "I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but this experience has most definitely shaped who I am as a person.  I have even more passion for the little things, because for a long time I could not do the little things."  

Angela M. Horvatin is from Williston Park, NY and will be attending Dowling College to pursue a career in Social work/Psychology.  Angela has Auditory Processing Disorder, ADD, and Congenital Ureteral Duplication.  "Growing up I had to overcome many obstacles to achieve my goals.  The greatest battle was to acknowledge my struggles and failures with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder and to me use them as lessons that shaped me as the person I am today, and not to let excuses be greater than my willingness to succeed."

Matthew T. Lidonnici is from East Moriches, NY and will be attending Bucknell University to pursue a degree in Bio-chemistry.  Matthew was afflicted with severe Crohn's Disease when he was 8 years old that ultimately required a colostomy.  "Initially, I found it quite hard to adjust to life with a radically changed body.  Over time I realized that these issues, however big, were not insurmountable . For every problem encountered, I found a way to overcome it.  For everything lost, I replaced it with something just as good."

Hunter T. Sanchez is from Nassau, NY and will be attending RPI to pursue a degree in Management/Law.  Hunter has severe bilateral Legg Calve Perthes Disease which is a degenerative disease that affects the hips and required many surgeries and hospitalizations for Hunter.  "If the time I spent in Baltimore offered me a single lesson, it would be perspective.  It's truly invaluable to look at your life from outside your circumstances, because when you have this ideal embedded in your brain it gives you the motivation, the courage and the reasons to fight, try, succeed and live."

Benjamin T. Schragger is from Titusville, NJ and will be attending Rice University to pursue a degree in Sports Managengement and Statistices.  Benjamin has Crohn's Disease and while being treated and hospitalized his viewpoint changed dramatically to help others.  "Seeing hundreds of much younger kids who needed wheelchairs, chemotherapy, and oxygen wrenched my heart.  A sense of purpose took over my free time, and I became determined to share the profits of my extensive sports card collection called Cards2Kids."

2014

Amanda L. Averill is from Rexford, NY and will be attending Elms College to pursue a degree in Communcation Science and

dissorders. Amanda was diagnosed with Crohns disease at the age of 13. "...I have learned to not b eembarassed of who you are, and to embrace everything; your disease, and what makes you a unique individual. One does not have control over your own body, but, one does have control over something much more important-the mind. One should question everything, and not only rely on authority for formulating opinions, but to think for oneself, and ask questions."

Troy E. Longman II is from Avoca, MI and will be attending Ferris State College to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. Troy is one of the 300 individuals with an extremely rare bleeding disorder called Dysfibinogenemis. "....Everyone has set a goal in life at some point in time but what seperates me from everyone else is my inspiration and determination to complete that goal. The reason why I am so determined to achieve all my goals in life is because of my father who lost his job and decided he would go back to school and earn his bachlor's degree."

Daniel A. Nicoletta is from Niskayuna, NY and will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering. At Eight months old, Daniel had a three month stay in hospital and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  "....Dealing with diabetis has showed me that there isn't anything I can't do. Diabetes has taught me how to deal with hardship by setting my mind to my goal, pulling out the stop, and launching myself into the task, not stopping until it is complete. Diabetes has shown me a lot about what I can and cannot do, it has created in me a drive and determination to do better and improve that would be hard to derive from anywhere else."

McKinley B Shunn is from Carrollton, GA and will be attending the University of West Georgia to pursue and Art Degree. McKinley experiences chest pain, shorness of breath, dizziness, syncope and exhaustion all from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. "....I am always moving forward and making it over obstacles. Although I may have to start my school day later than my peers or miss school when I am not feeling well, I always give 110%. I have had some major obstacles to deal with both physically and emotionally while in school. But for me these major health events are like hurdles, I jump over each one, land gracefully, and keep moving toward my goal."

Nicole M. Tiffan is from Columbus, OH and will be attending Cedarville University to pursue a Psycology degree. Nicole has several chronic  disorders which combined are called Andersen-Tawil-Syndrome. The major consequences are cardiac abnormalities, skeletal muscal weakness with periodic paralysis and groth retardation.  "....Being normal is a luxury that most take for advantage.  Some people, such as I, never get to experience this luxury.  However I must keep moving forward because stopping is not an option. I must continue the quest of a different normalcy, however unreachable it is.  I must do this until I am considered normal, for me."

Kathryn C. Waverka is from Gilbertsville, PA and will be attending Marywood University to pursue a degree as a Physician's Assistant.  Katiee has Postural Orthostatic Tachycarddia Syndorme, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Reflex Neuro Vascular Dytrophy. "....These illnesses taught me life is too valuable to take it for granted.  No matter how many time I was in the hospital or unable to sit upright, or even eat simple foods without assistance from a tube, I held on.  Npt only do I live each day and every moment like it is my last; but I value what each day has to bring. As hard as living with these illnesses is, I am thankful for it."

2013

Rhea-Annea E. Ferguson is from Gloversville, NY and will be attending Fulton Montgomery Community College to pursue a degree in Graphic Arts. Rhea-Annea has Ataxic Cerebral Palsy and has donated her wheelchairs and walkers to her school. “…I donated one of my wheelchairs to a friend who has Lou Gerhigs disease and ankle and leg braces to the Schriners. My glasses always go to the Lions Club. I believe in giving back to the Community and helping others.”

Shaina K. Ghuraya is from Elk Grove, CA and will be attending California State University to pursue a degree in Government. At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy rendering her wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. “…My disability has contributed to a unique outlook on life that I would not have acquired without the crippling illness. The wheelchair is in a sense a part of who I am, and has helped develop me to become a state legislator for the Disability Committee, so I can help others in similar conditions.”

Abigail E. Gordon is from Littleton, CO and will be attending Colorado Christian University to pursue a degree in Health Sciences. Abigail has Cystic Fibrosis and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. “…Because I live with two serious medical challenges, I have developed a heart of compassion and understanding towards other youth and adults who have medical challenges. I have developed my own outreach called All Things, which provides support and comfort at no cost to medically challenged youth through Personalized Encouragement Boxes.”

Lindsay R. Kerr is from Long Beach, CA and will be attending Long Beach City College to pursue a degree in Education. Lindsay was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus. “…The Cerebral Palsy affected my left leg and arm but I am able to walk and talk, but not in the manner that most people do. The Hydrocephalus has made it harder to see details of objects because of the many brain surgeries that I’ve had over the years. But this has not stopped me from my dream of helping others with disabilities.”

Joshua J. Kim is from LaCanada, CA and will be attending Pomona College to pursue a medical degree. Joshua was born as a severe Hemophiliac. “…Hemophilia has placed many challenges in my life but it has also given me guidance and purpose to pursue advocacy on behalf of those affected, to be a model of inspiration to those around me and to hopefully be accepted into the medical field and become a world class physician. “

Gabrielle C. Pearce is from Dubois, PA and will be attending Temple University to pursue a Neuroscience degree. Gabrielle has severe disabling Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. “…I am able to look at health ailments as blessings rather than problems. I thank God each day for my migraines and my lupus, for without them I would not be the young woman that I am today. My health problems have developed me into a strong, humble, and courageous spirit-one that is able to love others and help them more than I ever could had I not had these blessings.”

Rachelle N. Werking is from East Greenbush, NY and will be attending Siena College to study Computer Science. Rachelle has severe Scoliosis diagnosed at just nine months old. “…I had 17 castings over nine years, each performed in the operating room under full anesthesia. People ask me how I have tolerated all this while maintaining a positive attitude. I always remember that there is someone worse off than me. I will apply the same principal of perseverance to deal with any hardships in life I used as a small child learning to walk in a five pound body cast. I will never give up or stop trying as long as I live!”

2012

Hannah A. Barnett is from Mechanicville, NY and will be attending the University of Auburn and is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. Hannah has Type 1 Diabetes and volunteers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “…It may sound counterintuitive to embrace diabetes, but until there is a cure, I will continue to live as an example to others living with the disease. I always knew that I would independently manage diabetes, by embracing it, resisting the urge to be bitter, and being a constant teacher and role model.”

Jeanette J. Braun is from Ballston Lake, NY and will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh to pursue a degree in Nursing. Jeanette was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of eleven. “…There are many experiences in life that help mold a person’s character. That powerful experience for me was being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I have grown from being a frightened little girl into a strong, caring and determined young lady. It has helped define who I am and has solidified my future.”

Raphael S. Forbes is from Upland, CA and will be attending Whittier College to pursue a Pre-Med/Biology degree. Raphael is a hemophiliac, specifically a severe hemophiliac with Factor XIII deficiency. “…After years of fighting against my disability I have found that through these experiences, all I want in life is to help others whether they are patients like me or patients of some misfortune or another and the way that I see I can help those patients is in the field of surgery.”

Morgan B. McCarthy is from Saratoga Springs, NY and will be attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to pursue an English Communications degree. Morgan was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy at the age of 2. “My mother always told me not to let the diagnosis of CP define me or my life, but unfortunately it does, every aspect, physically, emotionally, and socially. It is a chronic condition permanently controlling my life, and how I get around, which is either by scooter or wheelchair. I receive physical therapy and drug therapy for the rest of my life. I am going to be a great success no matter my pain, God put me here for a reason, just exactly the way I am.”

Katelyn N. Reeves is from Thousand Oaks, CA and will be attending the University of Santa Barbara with a Pre-Medicine/Biology major. Katelyn was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome which is a nervous system disorder. She went to numerous doctors with constant pain from her hip to her toes. “…While I was in the hospital, the nurses would make me laugh even when I was in the worst pain. My doctors encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor. After eighth grade, I knew I had to give back to others in the same way my doctors helped me.”

Keith D. Taylor is from Whitsett, NC and will be attending Webster University to pursue a B.F.A in Lighting Design degree. Keith has Severe Hemophilia A, factor 8 deficiency. “…I remember days I would wake up with a bleed in my leg or ankle, get raced to the hospital for a treatment (only years later would a nurse come to me at home) and spend the next several days being pushed around in a wheelchair or hobbling around on crutches. We are the sum of all our experiences; certainly, my disease has influenced the person I am today. Maybe I’m stronger, more confident, more flexible, more sure of myself and my choices for the future because of the lessons of learned from hemophilia.”

2011

Erin E. Carey is from Clifton Park, NY and will be attending St. John Fisher to pursue a degree in English/French.  Erin has Type I Diabetes and is very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  "Wheather I am helping a child to count carbs and calculate insulin doses for their meal, helping a newly diagnosed child meet new friends and feel comfortable testing their blood glucose, or speaking publicly about leading a "normal" life within the limits of a chronic illness, I feel fortunate to be able to give back."

Jessica M. Herrin is from Elgin, Texas and will be attending Texas A & M University to pursue a Biomedical degree.  JEssica has Immune Thrombocytopenic Papura a conditon in which the body does not have enough platelets.  She has undergone massive migranes, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and brusing from the constant pricking of needles and IV.  "The experience has greatly impacted my future educational goals.  I hope to major in Biomedical Science, proceed to Med-School and then earn a Ph-D in Pediatric Dermatology."

Lawrence M Murphy is from Schenectady, NY and will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh to pursue a BA or Pre-Pre-Med degree.  Lawrence was diagnosed with Crohns disease in 8th grade after losing weight, and barely being able to walk.  "This disease does not define me, however it is a very importantpart of who I have become.  If I know one thing I am capeable of surviving well and I intend to do great things.  If I had to sum it up, my passion is to serve in any capacity that I can to better the lives of others in my community and the world."

Kayla E. Pfab is from Glen Allen,VA and will be attending Duquesne to pursue a degree as a Physician Assistant.  Kayla was diagnosed with dysautonomia; a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system in which the body cannot regulateeveryday functions. "This diagnosis was a relief, but at the same time I began to learn about this chronic illness that I was going to have to manage and deal with for the rest of my life.  By embracing these experiences, I developed into a stronger more focused individual with a bright futuree in helping others."

Eric M. Sisser is from Sachse, Texas and will be attending the University of Texas to purse a degree in Hospitality Management.  Eric was diagnosed at the young age of 6 months with severe Hemophilia B.  Eric has recently changed his plans of being a professional musician due to needing health insurance for his Hemophilia to aspirations of managing a hospitality department of a medical facility.  "I hope to continue to pay back to the community that has given so much to me."

Brian C. Truong is from Atlantic City, NJ and will be attending West Virginia University and pursuing a defree in Pre-Medicine.  Brian has severe Hemophilia B which requires him to be infused often.  "My experiences have allowed me to take the road less traveled in life.  Being a hemophiliac and having to face the adversities that accompany it has made me a better person.  It has humbled me and has allowed me to see that although times are rough, there is always hope as long as I keep my aspirations high.  I contorl my hemophilia, not the other way around."

Pyra A. Winston is from Johnstown, NY and will be attending SUNY Albany to pursue a BA degree in Psycology.  Pyra was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome where an X chromosome is comkpletely missing.  She also has Non-verbal learning disabilities(NLD) which is associated with her Turner Syndorme.  "Even though I will struggle with the challenges associated with TS throughout my life, it has molded my character and transformed me into the person I am today.  I will journey on to the next stage in my life with pride and self-confidence and a strong desire to help others who are struggling with similar issues."

2010

Shameem S. Fakory is from Saco, Maine and will be attending the University of New Hampshire and is pursuing a Biology degree. Shameem has a genetic blood disorder called Beta Thalassemia which has affected her life with frequent iron-chelating medication that is slowly injected over a 12 hour period. She recently was able to become liberated with an oral medication. “…Thalassemia no longer controls how I live my life from day to day. It has given me strength when I thought I had none and has made me very appreciative and more determined than ever to reach my goals.”

Chelsea L. Hadden is from Poughkeepsie, NY and will be attending Fredonia to pursue a degree in Music. Chelsea was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder that results in a collagen deficiency between the joints. This causes the joints in her hands to dislocate causing unbearable pain. “…I believe you should grab every opportunity that comes your way. If someone opens a door, you need to walk through and embrace what’s on the other side. Missed opportunities cause regret, a word I don’t like.”

Samantha L. Illenberg is from Castleton, NY and will be attending Clarkson University to pursue an Engineering degree. Samantha has a degenerative nerve disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) which causes muscles and her reflexes to be slow and weak. This disease has prevented her from doing many activities however she has persevered in swimming as a positive role model. “Although I will never be a Michael Phelps, everyone seems to associate my name with persistence and a positive attitude that influences the rest of the team.

Maureen B. Riegert is from Greendale, WI and will be attending The University of Notre Dame to pursue a Biology degree. Maureen was diagnosed with severe Idiopathic, Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), a disorder with a risk of bleeding when platelet counts are low and requiring frequent IV therapy. “…I feel I can be a good role model for young children with bleeding disorders to let them know they can dream and set high goals for themselves. I plan to encourage others to challenge themselves and pursue their goals to do what they want to achieve in life.”

Mallory A. Rowley is from Liverpool, NY and will be attending Colgate University with a Pre-Medicine/Biology major. Mallory was diagnosed at the age of 12 with Crohn’s disease after losing 30 pounds, and having symptoms not unlike those of the stomach flu. “…I want to give back to those who need a hand, a friend. I would like to become a passionate person who can perhaps discover the cure for Crohn’s that have robbed the childhoods and dreams of others. I know that nothing is impossible.”

Alissa A. Urich is from Maple Grove, MN and will be attending the University of Kansas to pursue a Pre-Medicine/ Biology degree. Alissa has a thrombotic disorder and had a life-threatening thrombosis which required surgery and removal of her left lower lobe of her lung. “…My goal is to be a bilingual pediatric hematologist in a children’s hospital. I am very passionate about wanting to help children and their families with blood disorders. I want to be a reason a child will be able to fight through their battle and continue on living a normal life.”

2009

Chelsea M. Howell is from Louisville, KY and will be attending Bellarmine University and is pursuing a nursing degree. Chelsea has many chronic disorders ranging from Chronic pancreatitis, gastric outlet obstruction, cystic fibrosis dysfunction, Arnold Chiari malformation, Vater syndrome, and congenital Scoliosis just to name a few. She has been put to sleep for surgeries/procedures thirty-five times in seventeen years of her life including being cut open from hip to hip seven times. “…I have learned to appreciate every day and will never take a single moment for granted because of my surgeries, illnesses and the loss of my grandfather by a drunk driver eight years ago.”

Olivia W. Lee is from Rochester, NY and will be attending Cornell University to pursue an undergraduate education that will prepare her for medical school. When she was 14 Olivia was diagnosed with systemic lupus. “…Lupus has inspired me to use my God given talents to focus on others rather than myself. Living with lupus has given me a heart of compassion for those who suffer. Now I gladly share my story, hoping it will inspire and encourage others. I have learned not to take anything for granted, especially my health.”

Stuart J. Mott is from Wauwatosa, WI and will be attending University of WI-Madison. Stuart has Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the GI tract. “…In addition to the medical impact of the disease, it also affects my social life when symptoms unexpectedly spike or I have a prolonged flare up. Dealing with the disease on a daily basis has led me to become involved with finding a cure. I have hope for the future and am committed to not letting this illness prevent me from reaching the goals I have set for myself in life.”

Stephen J. Nicolosi is from Clarks Summit, PA and will be attending The University of Scranton to pursue a nursing degree. Stephen was diagnosed in early childhood with severe Hemophilia, a life-long bleeding disorder which causes bleeding episodes into the joints and muscles of the body. “…Even if I can manage to have a profound positive impact on one adult, or one child with Hemophilia, then my goals would be accomplished. Today people lecture on changing our world. I am ready to lead by example to make the change happen.”

Andrew S. Reiver is from Huntington, NY and will be attending University of Michigan with a Pre-Medicine/Biology major. Andrew also has Hemophilia A which has had a tremendous impact on his life. “…Studying the biology behind my disease and my experiences with many health care professionals have helped guide me to what I believe will be my career as a doctor and/or researcher. Coping with hemophilia has given me the courage and determination to overcome any obstacle and has made me more sympathetic to others.”

Joshua D. Rozenfeld is from West Caldwell, NJ and may be attending Keiser with an interest in studying computers. Joshua has generalized Dystonia which causes twisting and posturing movements and in Josh’s case limits his walking, and arm movements. He takes 25 pills to help treat his Dystonia but at the cost of many side effects. “…One positive outcome of my disability is that I’ve learned the importance of becoming involved and helping others. I speak and tell other kids who suffer that it doesn’t mean they can’t live a satisfying life.”

Chloe C. VanAlstine is from Wells, NY and will be attending Ithaca College with a Liberal Arts degree. Chloe has a chronic disorder called Tethered Chord Syndrome and Asthma. She had spinal chord surgery to correct the problem which left her with permanent nerve damage in her leg. “…I believe the chronic conditions I suffer have actually made me a better, stronger more determined person, teammate and friend. I have worked hard to overcome my conditions and have strived to be a good and positive example to those with similar or more serious challenges.”

2008

Jessica P. Abel is from Niskayuna, NY and will attend SUNY College of Oneonta and will pursue a degree in teaching. Jessica has a diagnosis of severe autoimmune neutropenia since she was eleven years old and believes there have been several silver linings to her illness. “My life so far is awesome despite the fact that I am sick….I am looking forward to living my dreams and doing my best to make the world a better place. I am not going to let my blood disorder get in my way!”

Conor W. Coyne is from Pittsfield, MA and will be attending the University of Vermont and will focus on Pre-med and computer sciences. Conor has severe Hemophilia A and believes his hemophilia has actually opened more doors than it could ever close. “Even though my hemophilia may present painful or even life-threatening situations, there are worse illnesses. In this, I’m fortunate, even lucky. It also reminded me the difference a positive attitude can make. My experiences inspire me to live each day to its fullest and appreciate the time I have on earth.”

Lauren L. Mancuso is from Berwyn, PA and will be attending the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on nursing. Lauren has Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome which requires lifelong anticoagulation therapy to reduce her risk of life or health threatening thrombosis. “The long term plan is to become a nurse, travel the world helping less fortunate countries gain medical care and knowledge. At the very least, I want people who suffer to realize that life is a precious gift that should be enjoyed and appreciated at every moment.”

Adam C. Millard is from Cypress, TX and will be going to Texas A & M to study genetics and gain entry into medical school. Adam has Hemophilia A and his goals are to become a member of the Corps of Cadets, joining the college band and majoring in Genetics. “I want to go into Medical School because I want to become a hematologist. I think as a hemophiliac myself that I will be able to relate on a personal level with all of my patients.One day, I hope to cure hemophilia, which will let me give back to the bleeding disorder community.”

Michael T. O’Connor is from Cold Spring Harbor, NY and will be attending Amherst College. Michael has been recruited to Amherst due to his excellent swimming skills even though he is a severe Hemophiliac. “Yes, I have severe Hemophilia B, and yes there have been many times in my life where I really hated it. But, in retrospect, I did luck out. I could have been born ten years earlier and been one of the people infected by contaminated medicine. I have been lucky enough to live my life just as anyone else would, to do activities and play sports and even be recruited to one of the best NCAA Division III swim teams in the country-as an athlete.”

Lina E. Smith is from New Hartford, CT and will be attending Williams College pursuing a Management and Psychology degree. Lina has suffered with Ulcerative Colitis with pain and discomfort until her ultimate surgery allowed her to live a more normal life. “As a child having faced medical problems, it seems superficial and insignificant to spend my time having deep discussions about the latest fashion trend or perfecting my already made-up image. I learned how to respect those that may look or act differently, remembering that they too may have a past filled with pain and adversity.”

2007

 

Thomas J. Kim is from Milpitas, CA and will attend UC Berkeley in the fall, majoring in Pre-Med. Thomas has severe Hemophilia, which he considers his motivation, and the source of his efforts and strength. “……..my gift (hemophilia) has revealed to me that mental strength will benefit me more than physical strength. Each injection I take pushes me to work harder and perform better so that my future will not be limited. …..my handicap has inspired me to become a doctor so that I can help others like myself.”

Michael T. Mayers is from Crystal Lake, IL, and will attend the University of Iowa, and will pursue a degree in Business Administration. Michael has severe Hemophilia B, and has successfully overcome and beaten Hepatitis C! “…my success is not measured in grades or viral counts, but rather through the many lessons such a feat has taught me. ….What should be considered a bad experience in my life has retrospectively turned out to become the foundation of who I am. Perseverance is no longer a quality I covet, but one that embodies me, and one that will follow me throughout my life.”

Lindsay N. Norville is from Albany, NY, and will attend Emerson College in Boston, Mass., majoring in Writing and Publishing. She wishes to become a professional writer. Lindsay has Sickle Cell Hemoglobin C, and received a liver transplant in April 2006. “I know what it’s like to wonder why you are considered different from other children. I know what it’s like to be so sick that you wonder if you will wake up the next morning……Whatever happens in my future I will meet it with the same will and steadfast hope that I have always utilized. I have come this far, and I still have a long way to go.”

Derick J. Stace-Naughton is from Madison, WI and will attend Georgetown University and study for degrees in Psychology and Physics. Derick suffers from Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome as well as an undefined platelet ( bleeding) disorder. “I have learned to cope with my challenging circumstances, and use my abilities to serve those around me. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my conditions will follow me, but I am no longer a passive observer to the events that shape my life. Becoming an advocate within the bleeding disorder community ...taught me not to defer responsibility for the world around me, but to acknowledge and exploit the power that my actions can have to enhance the lives of those around me.”

Hannah L. Taylor is from Charlotte, NC, and plans to attend University of North Carolina; Chapel Hill pursuing a course of study in Journalism and International Relations. Hannah lives with a bleeding disorder known as Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangietasia (HHT or Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome). Hannah parallels her life course to a “road trip” hike in which she finds long roads stretching out in every direction from the point where she stands. “I am excited to beat my own path and explore my interests. I could trade my hiking boots for a car, but I don’t want to coast through life. In my road trip of life I do not have to make it to Mount Everest, and I do not have to be the best of the best. I look forward to the journey…….I hope the view is magnificent from the top!”

Sarah A. Woodcock is from Johnstown, NY, and will attend Fulton Montgomery Community College, working toward a degree in Nursing. Sarah has a condition known as Moderate Multi Systems Disorder, earmarked by chronic severe pain and debilitation, and limitations. “I encourage others not to give up no matter what they are facing. This illness will not destroy my passion for living, my passion for doing for others. My illness will not control my life. I will continue to be my best. I want to be the best I can be for myself, my family, and for my community.”

2006

Aaron Craig is from Richardson, TX and will be attending King’s College in New York, studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Aaron has severe Hemophilia B. Aaron believes that living with Hemophilia is a blessing. “The outside world looks at a person with a bleeding disorder and asks why? I am here to ask why not? As the saying goes, ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’ I love lemonade. As my life continues on I will strive not for wealth or fame or anything of such that our society puts on such a pedestal, but strive to be a positive influence to those around me such as my dad was to a young boy like me.”

Cory Kruger lives in Fonda, NY and will attend Siena College to pursue a degree in Business or Political Science. Cory has Juvenile Diabetes. Cory believes that every dark cloud has a silver lining. After the initial shock of the diagnosis Cory was determined to change his life style by losing weight, exercising, and becoming more aware of what food he put in his body. “My passion is to explore my own limitations, to see how much I can ultimately achieve as an adult. As I mentioned, I would like to be involved in researched or politics; not for myself, but to be a helpful force in finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.”

Daniel Musher of Bethesda, MD will be attending Brown University in September and pursuing a degree in Environmental Science. Daniel is a severe Hemophiliac. For Daniel having Hemophilia has taught him to be responsible for his own well being and to be aware and value his health. “Because of my Hemophilia, I appreciate things, such as my active life style, which other people may take for granted. Although hemophilia has shaped who I am today, I have not let it restrict my life. I am a normal kid. I do not consider myself a ‘hemophialic’,; rather, I am a kid with hemophilia.”

Craig Nally of Foxborough, MA will be attending the University of Vermont to studyPre-Med, with a minor in Spanish. . Craig has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and a blood coagulation defect. Craig has a severe skin disorder that causes the skin to be elastic and tear more easily than normal skin. Ever since he was young he has always wanted to work in a hospital since he has always spent so much time in them. “Ever since I was really young I have always dreamed of being that doctor who can take in hurt, sick, and crying little kids, fix them up, and send them home feeling better and happy children again.”

Nathan Strauss of St. Louis, MO a will study Pre-law, majoring in economics and math at Harvard in the fall. Nathan has Hemophilia A severe. Nathan’s independence and self-awareness helped him in his decision to organize a series of workshops at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis to teach younger children with hemophilia the important lesson of self-infusion.. “Whether or not I can ever achieve my childhood goal of actually curing hemophilia, I plan to dedicate myself completely to furthering my scientific and community activities to becoming an M.D./Ph.D. and devoting my work to helping others improve their lives through medicine and through their own actions.”

2005

Molly King, of Fair Oaks, California will study Biology and Chemistry at Reed College in the fall. Molly has Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, which causes her ongoing pain and limited function in her right leg, limiting her mobility and causing a need for crutches and a wheelchair. Her passions include fervor for learning and for science. “…I have come to see that disabilities are not limitations, but rather obstacles to be overcome. In this way, I like to think that I have turned my reality of living with a disability into simply another perspective from which to view life….”

Phillip DiPirro of Melrose, MA will be attending Hamilton College in September and pursuing a degree in English or American Literature. Phil is a severe Hemophiliac. Phil is a talented young writer with aspirations to study Sports Law. “…Maintaining a normal life while attending to severe factor IX deficiency has been a challenge. My greatest challenge has been not to let it adversely affect my daily life.”

David R. Cooley is from Melbourne, Florida and will be attending Florida State University, studying World History. Timothy has severe Hemophilia A. He aspires to pursue a law degree, and perhaps politics either directly or indirectly in order to help pass legislation that would provide better care for the chronically ill within our nation. “…As odd as it may seem, having hemophilia has always imparted me with a sense of hope. This hope has left me knowing that even when things look bad and a situation is desperate, there is always a chance of success and if you believe in that chance, then it becomes all the more likely to happen. …”

James R. Simpson of Esperance, NY will be attending S.U.N.Y. @ Oneonta to study History. James has Cystic Fibrosis, for which he must take multiple medications and do several hours of respiratory treatments daily to keep his lungs clear. “…From living with Cystic Fibrosis, I have learned responsibility, organization, and that Cystic Fibrosis has not slowed me down as much as it has made me strive to achieve. It has made me work harder to do better and succeed….”

Newman Hoffman lives in South Salem, NY and will attend Wesleyan University to study Engineering. He was diagnosed with severe Hemophilia at 18 months of age. “…Perseverance is a trait that defines me. I know struggle. I know pain. Most of all, I know triumph. I am the conqueror, not the conquered. I am proud to be a hemophiliac because I truly believe that impairment can actually help to strengthen a person. All the obstacles that someone has to overcome make a person tougher. Many of the lessons I have earned have been a result of this disease…”

2004

Brian R. Schwenzfeier of Watervliet, NY will study Music Education at the College of St. Rose in the fall. Brian has Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy and relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility. His passions include music and singing. However, Brian’s disability has never interfered with his desire to be successful academically and musically. “…It’s made me realize the important things in life. I see now that I need to live my life to the fullest and never quit or slow down. I won’t let this disease affect how I live my life”.

Henry Hudson of New Paltz, NY will be attending the University of Washington in Seattle and pursuing a degree in Business or Teaching. Henry is a severe Hemophiliac. His lifestyle is such that his medical status is not even evident to others. Henry’s passion is swimming and he hopes to someday qualify for the Olympic trials. “…I feel that living with my disorder has had a major and good impact on my life. It has taught me responsibility and has provided self-awareness.”

Timothy K. Carey is from Delmar, NY and will be attending SUNY Albany, studying History. Timothy was diagnosed with insulin-dependent (Type 1) Diabetes at the age of four, and has no recollection of living a single day without needles, vials, lancets and glucose meters. “…But don’t feel sorry for me, for the very disease that has robbed me of so much has given me so much too. Knowing that I have a problem has strengthened me and empowered me to take control of my own destiny.”

Arien I. Gray of Johnstown, NY will be attending Fulton Montgomery Community College to study Psychology. Arien has von Willebrands & Hemophilia, and has a “can do-will do” attitude and philosophy on life. Arien has been involved in the adaptive sports and ski program at Windham, teaching disabled children to ski, and the Double “H” Hole in the Woods camp as a volunteer. “…All of these activities have allowed me to understand where my future is headed, doing what I can do best…helping people enrich their lives through recreation.”

Christopher F. Kelly lives in Troy, NY and will attend Hudson Valley Community College. At the age of 2-1/2, Christopher was diagnosed with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome, which forces him to work harder to succeed against all odds. “…I constantly push myself to prove I can do what other people who are non-disabled can do. I have learned how to capitalize on my strengths as well as not rest until all my own expectations are met.”

2003

Elise L. Anderesen of Schnectady, NY will study psycology, at Utica College, in the fall of 2003.  She aspires to become a child life specialist, teaching sick children through medical play to help understand their illness and procedures they are about to undergo.  She feels she can provide a unique perspective to kids since she knows first hand how it feels to be a patient. Elise has undergone two brain surgeries necessitated from a genetic disorder, Arnold Chiari Malformation 1 of the brain.  She also has Neurally Meditated Hypotension, Postural Orthosatic Tachycardia Syndrome and two other chronic disorders.  "Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees" is one of the philosophies she believes. "My illness have stretched me physically, mentally and emotionally to the limits, but have made me stronger because of it."

Samuel W. Doughty of Salisbury, MD is planning a course of study in the recording industry at Middle Tennessee State University in the fall of 2003. "Living with a bleeding disorder has provided me with many opportunities and affected my life in positive ways...I have met many inspiring people ....who have inpired me to do my best in whatever I did so that I could be an example to other youth growing up with a bleeding disorder...I believe that living with a bleeding disorder has shown me that even though there are struggles, I can work my way up the ladder and be a success at whatever I do." Samuel's passion is music. "I Love the art of making music because it shows the whole spirit of a person when they express themselves through verse or song.

Joseph R. Pileri of Newbury Park, CA has been accepted to UCLA in September 2003, with an undeclared major at this time. "For me, the greatest challenge I have had with my hemophilia is maintaining a normal life....and taking 20 minutes away from homework to prepare my IV or ice my ankle has become about as routine as brushing my teeth.  In fact, it has become so costom that sometimes coodling from my family wold be nice, but such is the price of normality." Though I do not know wjere I see myself in 10 years, hopefully I will be able to do something that will allow me to touch others' lives, and don't see hemophilia as hindering my future."

Neil G. Swanson of Virginia Beach, VA has been accepted in the Intelligence Analyst Research Program at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA, and plans to major in history and minor in foreign language. "My career goals have changed because of my bleeding disroder. My long-term goals are to have a secure job with a federal government agency and contribute to society by helping others.  My father has been a powerful role model teaching me how to cope with a disability.  He has severe primary progressive multiple sclerosis and lost function of his arms and legs. For the last 8 years, I have provided care for him. I help him with activities of daily living....If he can cope with the degenerative changes of multiple sclerosis, then I can surely cope effectively with my bleeding disorder."

Joseph R. Pileri of Newbury Park, CA has been accepted at UCLA in September of 2003, with an undeclared major at this time.  "For me, the greatest challenge that I have had with hemophilia is maintaining a normal life.......and taking 20 minutes away from homework to prepare my IV or ice my ankle has become as routine as brushing my teeth.  In fact, it has become so custom that sometimes coddling from my family would be nice, but such is the price of normality.  Though I do not know where I see myself in 10 years, hopefully I will be able to do something that will allow me to touch other's lives, and I don't see hemophilia as hindering my future."

 

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