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Scholarship helps students affected by childhood cancer

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Posted at 1:32 PM, Jan 19, 2024

Having cancer or caring for a loved one with the disease is tough emotionally and is a major financial strain for families.

The Northwestern Mutual Foundation is helping alleviate some of that burden with its Childhood Cancer Scholarship Program, offered to those affected by childhood cancer who plan on continuing their education either in college or at vocational school programs.

Yale student Madisen Rowley is one of the 50 scholarship recipients from 2023 and received $10,000 to help with her schooling. Rowley lost two of her family members to cancer. She was seven years old when her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. When she was ten, her older brother was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"So, I really looked up to my brother. He was really smart and my mom, I see her as such a warrior. And so, I kind of like applied that to my life and like what I wanted to do in the future. And I was really interested in being a doctor and like studying really hard and stuff. And it's now led me to Yale studying pre-med."

Rowley said cancer treatment costs were so high and often insurance didn't cover it.

"Especially having two people in my family having cancer. My dad had to quit his job when my brother was fighting, and so we relied on the help of others and were truly so grateful. And it is just the amount of money that cancer treatment is astronomical, and insurance companies quite honestly don't often cover it. And so, you're just left trying to put together fundraisers and it's like a full-time job."

Rowley is studying neuroscience at Yale and plans to do brain cancer research while pursuing her undergraduate degree.

"I would love to be a flight surgeon in the Air Force."

"Me and my brother just shared a love for the Air Force and going to air shows. And also we had visited NASA in Houston, Texas when he was getting treatment. And one time we got a tour of NASA from a flight surgeon and I was just like, I want to do that so bad. So I'll have a mix of my cancer research during my undergraduate degree and then hopefully be in the Air Force just like me and my brother talked about one day."

"I hope they're proud of me. I think they're proud. But yeah. I mean, I'm doing this all in their honor. I mean, I'm also doing it for myself, but like, they truly were like such an inspiration for me to begin this journey and go forth on it.

This program has been going on since 2017. Northwestern Mutual reports since then, almost $2 million has been awarded to 262 scholars.

Applications for the 2024 scholarship are closing on February 1, 2024, so if you want to apply or know someone who does, you can click on the links below.

For childhood cancer survivors, click here.

For childhood cancer siblings, click here.