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2014 First Runner Up - Essay

Camila Prada

Scholarship Amount: $7,500

Hometown: Tallahassee, FL - School: Florida State University

When I was only 13 years old, my mother was diagnosed with Leukemia. Over the next 3 years she battled cancer, including 2 periods of remission. As a result of her illness, my mother was unable to work. Being a single mother, we were left without any income. We had to rely on government assistance and donations from friends and family. This added stress to my mother’s life and required her to devote energy to financial issues, which would have been better spent focusing on recovery. If my mother had had some sort of disability or long-term care insurance, it would have paid the bills and allowed us to focus on my mother’s treatment. Even worse, in the later years, the lack of money made me to find a part-time job to help pay the household bills and my school expenses. Having to balance work and school made success in high school that much more difficult and forced me to limit the number of extracurricular activities I undertook.

Furthermore, what little money we did have we had to use to pay for any medical treatment that was not covered by Medicaid. Without any form of long-term care insurance, her treatment had to be done through the emergency room, which was very time consuming, frightening and inconvenient. It added to the already stressful situation. I would stay with my mother until she could be admitted, which resulted in late nights spent at the hospital, making the already difficult situation even worse.

After the long bout, my mother finally passed away. If my mother had had life insurance, I most likely would have been able to finish high school at my school and stay in my town. But since she did not, I was left without a way to provide for myself. Her only sister lived in Bolivia, where my mother was born. So during my junior year of high school, I was had no choice but to relocate to La Paz and live with my aunt. I had to adjust to a new culture, while dealing with the death of my mother. The stability that life insurance would have provided would have been invaluable during my time of loss. Subsequently when it came time for college, I had always wanted to attend Florida State University. In preparation, I worked hard, but unfortunately my loss and relocation set me back in my preparation and I was not accepted to FSU. I was, however, accepted to Tallahassee Community College. I went there for 2 years and graduated with honors with an Associate of Arts degree. Following semester, I was accepted to FSU, which is where I am currently attending and excelling.

Although I believe that the loss of my mother resulted in a great setback, she had instilled in me a sense of perseverance and diligence which prodded me to succeed in community college and so that I could transfer to FSU. This made me who I am today.

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2014 Top Recipients