Cancer Survivors Pursue their Dreams with the Help of College Scholarships
Many young adults diagnosed with cancer are forced to put their educational goals on hold to focus on getting well. Cancer patients deplete college savings and acquire massive medical bills just to survive. Affording college after surviving cancer can be extremely difficult.
As a 15 year-old, Craig Pollard was focused on anything but cancer. He was a stand-out baseball player at Villa Park High School in Orange County, California and had dreams of playing professional baseball one day. All of that would change as he learned he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Craig endured nine months of chemotherapy, three months of radiation and surgery that resulted in the removal of his spleen, appendix and several lymph nodes. As Craig recovered from treatment and got back to high school life, things seemed to be coming together. After graduating on time with his class, he earned a merit scholarship to the University of Southern California, and signed a letter-of-intent with the nationally-ranked Trojan baseball program. Life was good.
Unfortunately, at age 19, Craig was given the devastating news that the cancer had returned. As life continued on without him, Craig had to watch from a hospital bed as his friends, family, baseball career and the college experience all seemed to be slipping from his grip. It was during his second bout with cancer that Craig made a promise to God, “I vowed to make a difference in the world.”
After a life-saving bone marrow transplant at the City of Hope, Craig slowly returned to the life he had put on hold. This time, a new passion had grown and he began his mission by devoting his time to other survivors. As a counselor at a camp for children with cancer, he saw how inspired the children and their parents were by him; a two-time cancer survivor who was also in college.
Craig saw an opportunity to make his impact. During his senior year at the USC Business School, he wrote a business plan for his senior project on a charity which would provide college scholarships to cancer survivors, with funds raised through a small golf tournament. He called it Cancer for College. Craig rallied 24 of his closest friends and family members to play in the opening event in 1993. It included a golf tournament and a BBQ in the Pollard’s backyard. Cancer for College proudly awarded its first scholarship, totaling $500.
Over the past 19 years, Cancer for College has awarded over $1.75 million in scholarships to over 1,000 survivors. Not only do cancer patients and their families suffer physically and emotionally, but the financial hardship caused by the disease can be debilitating. Plans like saving for college take a back seat to getting healthy and even with great health insurance many families are left with enormous medical bills.
Craig recognized the great void that existed in aid to survivors once they were “cured” and sent out into the world. Getting healthy and returning to school is what keeps most young adult cancer patients motivated and hopeful during the darkest of times. Cancer for College aims to make that dream a reality for as many cancer survivors as possible. Since inception, Cancer for College has helped more than 1,000 cancer survivors realize their dreams of a college degree.
More About This Charity
Cancer for College
Cancer for College provides hope and inspiration to cancer surivors in the form of college scholarships.
- This Achievement has raised $1,750,000
- This Charity has raised $300,000 in the past year
- This Charity helped 85 people in the past year
- Over 1,000 College Scholarships Awarded