2014 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients

Brina Olunkwa- Hofstra University, NY (Sponsored, In Memory of Catie Corcoran)

"Though I have lupus which affects my physical being, my dreams and passions remain the same. I am focused in continuing my education in order to pursue my goal of being a medical researcher."


Linda Zhang- University of California- Berkeley (Sponsored, Anonymous Non-Profit)

"Lupus has made me a stronger and better person than I believe I would have been otherwise. It taught me to embrace my imperfections, and to live passionately, honestly, and gratefully… As my struggle with Lupus continues, so does my strength to persevere in this life and all it has to offer." 


William Aguilar-John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY (Sponsored, KB Covers)

"Throughout all of this, I have chosen to take a path of positive thinking. I choose to ignore the things that might have held me back, and to strive forward toward my educational goals. I used my diagnosis as a reason to seek for answers, to learn and prove to myself that I may have the illness, but the illness does not have me." 


Jena Trowbridge-Remington College School of Nursing, FL (Sponsored, Jean Bassett)

"I have faced many challenges, balancing work, school, and a chronic disease. I enjoy listening, working with others, and acting as a patient advocate and educator.  This new chapter of my life will continue to grow and develop who I am as a student, professional and individual; I gladly welcome all of these upcoming changes with ample enthusiasm for what the future may hold." 


Destini Thomas- Massachusetts College of Art and Design

"I also have become a very flexible person; this condition is a day to day experience. So, I have to be ready with a plan B,C, and even D, and take back the power in my life. I've learned to control the disease and not let it control me!"


Gianna Raponi- Rollins College, FL

"If I could leave an imprint on this Earth, I would wish that others could understand all of the sacrifices that led to me to the experiences to be the person that I am. I want them to see through my eyes that living with lupus can be difficult but not impossible. Lupus patients learn to live very day with so much inner strength, that others do not realize their daily challenges."


Jacqueline Saunders- Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, MI (Sponsored, Anonymous Individual)

"Lupus completely broke down my body, but it never broke down an eternal spark inside of me. An unexpected positivity came from having lupus, teaching me enriched life lessons. It made me appreciate even the smallest events in life, realizing I can choose my attitude each day and make it what I want it to be."


 Jolene Milewski- Temple University Tyler School of Art, PA

"Being diagnosed with lupus didn’t register in my mind. I didn’t really understand how serious it was…Sometimes I worry that lupus will prevent me from the future I want to obtain, but in my fight I know I will be successful."


Katelynn Henderson- University of New Mexico  

"The truth is, having lupus is not a walk in the park. I could tell you about how I'm a hero and how I fight through it, but it wasn't always like that."


Lauryn Bille – University of Nebraska- Lincoln

"Lupus gave me perspective. I was taught patience along with appreciation and respect. Before lupus, I almost glided through life not realizing how special each moment I spent with friends and family was. Although this disease may look like an obstacle, it helped me grow as a person more than anything else could have.”


Mattie Newman- Harvard University, MA

"Lupus made the start of high school nearly unbearable because people around me were ignorant as to how opening a door could be a challenge for me now…However, there was a point when lupus transitioned from a burden to a motivator. I decided to take lupus as a reason to work harder… My diagnosis does not make me any less capable.


Natasha Pacheco- University of Massachusetts Lowell

"But towards the end of those dark days the more I thought the more accepting I became. I now think of this as something to push me forward. My disease is now my motivator because it shows me that I can handle anything life throws at me."


Patricia Lawlis – University of Chicago

"I have decided to continue on with my life and not let my lupus end my educational and career dreams… I am not expecting to find balancing school and volunteering to be easy, but I know that with the correct attitude and preventative measures, I can manage my lupus without losing the things I care about."


Vanessa Fuentes – Baylor University School of Law, TX

"At some point, there was a moment of recognition in which I saw my struggles as an opportunity to humble myself by accepting my weaknesses and receiving help… Because of lupus, I am courageous, I am optimistic, and I am strong."


Ewodaghe Harrell – Brown University, Deferred Enrollment for 2014