The L.I.F.E. Awareness Award furthers L.I.F.E.’s twofold mission of promoting lupus awareness by awarding merit-based scholarships to students in all 50 states. Each year in support of May Lupus Awareness Month, L.I.F.E. selects an inspirational applicant as the winner.
Through this L.I.F.E. Awareness Award, more scholarships will be provided in areas less represented or states that have never received a L.I.F.E. Scholarship. This is a great way to spread awareness of a frequently misunderstood disease across the country and fulfill the L.I.F.E. Team’s goal to be represented and known in all states.
Jean Bassett from Arizona has been a loyal sponsor of scholarships since L.I.F.E.’s President & Co-Founder, Jodi Norton, initiated the Foundation’s first Sponsorship Program in 2014. L.I.F.E. is gracious for Jean’s support and excited to announce Caroline Boccuzzi as the sponsored winner for the 2017 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award. The winner of this sponsored scholarship is typically selected during May in honor of Lupus Awareness Month!
Caroline has been described as joyful, optimistic, driven, reliable, and respectful of others by those who have witnessed her perseverance and strength during her tenure at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT. Caroline’s achievements stand on their own. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society due to her consistent and excellent academic records. Caroline has also been awarded the Fairfield University Book Award recognizing her prestigious standing in the community at Fairfield University. By any means, Caroline is accomplished.
At the age of fifteen, Caroline was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease occurring when the body’s own immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. This disease has many manifestations creating a difficult environment for an individual to succeed. Caroline not only overcame her struggles to achieve outstanding success but she has used this platform as a catalyst to be more involved in her community. Caroline has “been empowered by this condition to help others.” She lends her time as a mentor to others facing the same diagnosis as herself, to elementary school kids as a mentor and tutor, and has spent time volunteering in nursing homes. Caroline has been a member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee which allowed her to bring awareness to social issues in her community. She has lent a helping hand with her high school as a part of the Learning and Development Crew (LanD), a mentorship program for incoming freshman.
Caroline has shown great determination and academic skill in her dedication to her classes even when lupus has caused her to interrupt her schedule. In addition, Caroline exudes compassion and awareness for the struggle of others. As Managing Editor of her award winning high school newspaper and intern for Jade Marketing Solutions, Caroline has begun to pursue her professional interests. Caroline’s diagnosis has become a bridge, connecting her to others and we are optimistic that she will continue to do so with an excellent college education at the University of Connecticut. We are proud to offer her the 2017 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award and we wish her all the very best in her endeavours.
Written by: Deanna Almanza