Jeff Zander Recipient

Cambrye Rollins Griffin

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: The University of Alabama at Birmingham
“Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do” is a quote that was written on my dad’s headstone.
On August 8, 2019, on the third day of my senior year, I lost my father to Stage IV Colon Cancer. I will never forget how dark my life had gotten this day. My father was my mentor, my best friend, shoulder to cry on, and the best father anyone could have. I remember thinking ” I cannot do anything if he’s not here with me”. My dad had been sick in the hospital in the summer of 2019. He had developed bone cancer in his spine and he had to stop chemotherapy to have surgery. I hadn’t seen my dad in person for a few months because he was getting treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I would call him on FaceTime and he would fall asleep in the middle of our conversations, he would be confused a lot, and soon, it was very hard to talk to him. My dad was a fighter, he would never give up no matter how hard it got, but he knew it was time, he did not want to suffer anymore.

My dad had life insurance, but being that he had to stop working years before he passed away, he had to pay thousands of dollars to the Social Security office before receiving his disability money, and he has 4 daughters and a wife, it wasn’t enough for my sisters to have everything they needed and pay for me to go to college. I, unfortunately, did not have a college fund, or parents that made enough to pay out of pocket. The life insurance policy was not the best and if it was, maybe I would not have to worry about how I am going to make it through college each semester with this financial burden. If he had better life insurance, I would focus solely on school rather than student debt. Life insurance is very downplayed in the black community, and it is hurting a lot of families financially, including mine. During the summers and breaks, I work full-time at a doctor’s office during the week and another job part-time babysitting on the weekends so I can limit the cost of student loans I take out every semester.

Nursing is a career path that can be very expensive. In the fall of 2022, I will be attending Nursing school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This is an amazing school and I have worked very hard to get to this point. After completing undergrad and obtaining my BSN, I plan to work at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham for 2-3 years. After, I will further my education to receive my MSN to become a Nurse Practitioner. This path will not be easy, but it will only be as difficult as you make it. At the end of the day, you cannot run away from your problems, you have to face them because… life happens.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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