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Cancer for College's Fundraiser:

Maria Thurman

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As a future Registered Nurse and a Breast Cancer Survivor, I want a career in which I feel I will be making a difference. Nursing is one of the few positions in which you can actually see a positive impact that your interactions can have on an individual or family. I have experienced firsthand how a disease can affect me and my family physically, emotionally, and financially. In 2007, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. I thought I was going to die. I lost my job, my car, and my home. I became homeless with my young son. We lived in various shelters throughout the Las Vegas Valley such as Shade Tree, Salvation Army, and Saint Vincent De Paul.

When I had breast cancer I had to become a strong individual and learn to become a positive person. I wanted to go to school, but I was uncertain what field I wanted to pursue. I first had to have my surgery. I had a bilateral mastectomy and I was in the hospital for a few days. Later, I started my rounds of chemotherapy. I lost my hair, my confidence, and my self-esteem was destroyed. Every time I went to my chemotherapy appointments an oncology nurse named Barbara would be the one to administer my medications. She gave them to me through my port and made sure that I was comfortable. I will always remember Barbara because she always brought me plenty of graham cookies and juices. She gave me plenty of reading material and always had my favorite television show on ready for me to watch.

This is when I decided I wanted to become a registered nurse. I wanted to be just like Barbara. I enrolled at College of Southern Nevada and have taken some prerequisites for the nursing program. I would like to become part of the Touro University BSN family and achieve my goal as a nurse. What sets me apart from the other applicants is that, I believe that if I can help someone achieve their goals, then I have achieved mine. I am an excellent team player and like to get involved. I feel that the only way you are going to learn is to try and do it yourself. I believe that The Reason I deserve this scholarship is because if you want something bad enough, you are the only one WHO can make it happen. Nursing is the perfect blend of patient care and medicine. The ability to improve people’s quality of life and teach people how to advocate for themselves is truly a gift that comes with becoming a nurse.

I am the perfect candidate for the Cancer for College Scholarship Fund because I have strived to make ends meet and I am dedicated and determined student. Living in low-income housing has helped me have a home to live in and be comfortable, so that I can go to school and study efficiently. I know that I will succeed in the B.S.N. program because I have taken most of my prerequisites and have obtained more than a 3.2 GPA. I also volunteer at the Veterans Hospital and I enjoy it very much. I work in General Surgery, Specialty 1 and 2. I work with the patients and file medication sheet preparing them for surgery. I feel that I have a greater chance in employment at the V.A. Hospital because of all of my training. I absolutely love it!

I have another disability that has had impacted my life, I am also hearing impaired. I lost my hearing through the cancer that I had and the amounts of chemotherapy I had to endure. Breast Cancer affected me first, then my grandmother, then my mother. Each of us had a different experience as to how we got the care we received. I was a patient of the Nevada Cancer Institute and so was my grandmother. I had so much empathy for the patients when I went into the chemotherapy unit as I was going to soon be a patient there as well. Chemotherapy really made me so sick and petrified of losing my hair. I had long hair all the way down my back and each day I would find chunks of it trailing throughout the house. I decided to go to a hairdresser and she volunteered her time to cancer patients. She shaved all of my hair off and that was the day of my first day of recovery. My grandmother decided not to have the chemotherapy as she saw what I had to endure and she opt not to have the chemo and she passed away of breast cancer. My mom had a lumpectomy and had to have rounds of radiation. I have seen firsthand how a person becomes a cancer patient and the journey that they are about to begin.

I would like to be considered for this scholarship because of my prior training as a C.N.A. and prior classes that I have had to prepare me to become a nurse. I also have letters of recommendations from my instructors. Being a breast cancer survivor and also having a hearing impairment makes me strive further to help others, and to have the chance to make an impact on their life and the lives of their families. I regularly meet with my fellow survivors and my new friends affected by this disease. I participate in the “Making Strides” and also the “Susan G. Komen” breast cancer run. These runs are close to my heart because you see and meet people that have just become affected by this disease, and breast cancer survivors that have been through the experience that I have had. 



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