Pacific Life Recipient

Danayeat Abraha

AMOUNT: $15,000
SCHOOL: Howard University
I was 16 when my father was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer and my life took an unexpected turn for the worst. As Eritrean immigrants, my parents were no stranger to socio-economic insufficiency, as a result, I witnessed my father struggle to provide for his 5 children. He had three jobs, worked seven days a week, and managed to give me and my siblings the best life he could. Although I rarely expressed my feelings to him, it stands true that he is my biggest inspiration. As he bravely battled cancer, I never expected that the lessons he taught me in courage and perseverance would guide me in overcoming the most challenging period of my life.

After his diagnosis, my parents quit their jobs to seek treatment options. With no stable income, we struggled to pay for my dad’s multiple brain surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and extended hospital stays. As if things were not bad enough, at two in the morning on October 8th, I was shaken awake from my home and rushed outside with only the clothes on my back, fleeing from the Tubbs fire. We lost everything and my family and I were homeless. Although we found a rental home months later, we struggled greatly seeing as the insurance didn’t fully cover the rebuilding of our house. We now pay both the rent for our current home and the mortgage for our previous home in order to maintain ownership. Additionally, we had financial deficits from replacing the necessities we had lost such as transportation, clothing, and food, etc.

Not long after these tragedies, I found myself mourning my father. We had not only lost a beautiful soul, but my family was left devastated, unemployed, financially unstable, and lacking any form of life insurance. My mom began picking up odd jobs as a nighttime caregiver and I worked 20 hours a week while simultaneously pursuing the IB diploma. I now help my mom cover the cost of car insurance and other necessities such as groceries. While I found myself sacrificing a lot for the betterment of my family, these new responsibilities I have allow me to appreciate the beauty that is life’s pursuits.

These moments in my life have taught me the importance of life insurance because, with it, my family wouldn’t be fighting every day to keep a roof over our heads. Nonetheless, if I’ve learned anything from this experience it’s that my commitment to persevere, even in the midst of deep adversity, is the greatest weapon I may yield, the deepest power I can hold, and the meaning of true bravery. As a financially unstable first-generation college student, I’ll be faced with the challenge of affording my dream to become a community-oriented doctor. Given this scholarship, I’ll have the opportunity to pursue my medical journey and provide aid as a Pediatrician. While losing my father was the most difficult things I’ve gone through, it caused me to realize how fortunate I was to have him in my life.

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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