2016 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients
Abigail Shafer- Arizona State University
"I was never asked to a dance, my dreams of attending prom and homecoming were still there, but they never materialized. I was not invited to parties, or social gatherings, after all I was just the "sick girl." Rumors and social media swirled with inaccurate and sometimes hateful ideas of what was going on with me. I grew up very quickly and became so strong through these trials, I learned to rely on myself and my family and that was it."
Alyssa Metts- University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
"Until recently, I would try to hide my illness and do everything others do. Unfortunately, I have found that I cannot do as many activities and sleep as few hours as my friends because stress can cause a lupus flare."
Christina Jackson- University of Missouri- Columbia
"I was doing quire well considering that my doctors had just told me and my family that I had a disease that we had ever heard of. I was set to go to college that year...I was [fine] until my senior year, the same semester I was due to graduate [college]. Unfortunately, I was never able to see that day. My big plans to become a college graduate would be placed on hold for seven years."
Corinn Ann Stines- Elmhurst College (Illinois)
"Dear lupus… you told me I was unlovable. I was an outcast. I could no longer be an athlete, be happy. The only thing left of me was smiling pictures. I don’t look like the sick kid, do I? I stand behind photos of 'you’re gorgeous' or 'you don’t look sick'. You smirked as the doctors shook their heads and I shake mine to this day."
Courtney Holvey- Binghampton University (New York)
"I wanted to be more than just a girl with lupus and I think that was my biggest motivation. I decided to put all my energy into being a successful student."
Hanna Kent- California State University- San Marcos
“Today I am a strong Christian, continuous tennis player, leader of many, loving daughter and sister. I don't know who I'd be today without the diagnosis, but I do not want to be anyone else and that is something I am greatly proud of.”
Hasler Roberson- University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
"When I was fifteen I thought lupus was the Latin word for wolf (thank you, Harry Potter), but when I was diagnosed with the disease in 2014 I felt more like a vampire, since the sun is basically my mortal enemy."
Jamie Stevens- University of New Mexico
“Lupus is such a sad and lonely disease. My own body is working so hard to harm itself and makes me feel such a deep sense of failure and hopelessness. The pride that I can take in my educational success replaces that feeling of failure and makes me feel strong and capable. Lupus will not distinguish my spirit.”
Jamilah Ali- University of New Mexico
"I want my story to be an inspiration and one day start a scholarship fund and mentoring program to help someone who has been diagnosed with lupus to get through not only college but life as well."
Kashika Singh- Chapman University (California)
“As time went on, I realized that my trauma was not mine alone. I could share my story and assist others going through the same thing.”
Kayla Morgann Pigg- University of Kentucky
“There's something fascinating about dominoes. The way you can make a maze of them. How one thing always leads to another; no matter how hard you try to stop it, you just can't. Life and lupus are a lot like a maze of dominoes. Each domino is a different story and each maze an even bigger one.”
Mackenzie Hoover- Plymouth State University (New Hampshire)
"I understand now that I need to be my own advocate. I have made a promise to myself to never pull the sympathy card; instead I call it my strength card. Lupus will be with me for life. It is how I choose to live with it that will be my success or defeat."
Nicole Iadevaia- New York University
"Having lupus is like participating in a triathalon, you think you have it under control most days, you swim past all your responsibilities and are feeling great and then you get on your bike and cycle your way through life like everyone else. Then you get to the final leg of the race, and you realize you are shoeless, in quicksand."
Raul Gomez- University of San Francisco (California)
"As a person living with lupus, I understand that life can be unfair but over the years of having supportive family and friends I’ve been able to cope with my disability and turn every day into a positive day- by not allowing it to prevent me from doing what I love."
Samantha Byers- University of California Riverside
"The study of lupus and other autoimmune disorders is still an emerging field with many unknowns. I would love to be able to research solutions so that I may 'fix' myself and others. We are not broken- we are merely misaligned and are in search of answers to our malady."