MDRT Foundation Recipient

Josh Stephen

AMOUNT: $12,500
SCHOOL: University of Texas at Austin

 Life has always had its ups and downs, but nothing impacted my family more than the death of my father in January, 2014, after battling liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and other tormenting medical conditions. My dad was the light in my life. He taught me how to battle through the toughest of times. Losing him was truly losing a best friend, a person you can always rely on to be there for you.

My mom’s lifelong savings diminished in the blink of an eye due to my dad’s medical treatment expenses. After the death of my father, my mom had to use the last bit of her savings to try to keep our house from being foreclosed, but soon enough, that battle was a lost cause. With my mom earning a very minimal salary as a preschool teacher, she simply cannot afford to fund my college expenses, living paycheck to paycheck to try and provide the best life possible for my brother and I. However, I won’t let this stop me from being able to fund my college education. I will do everything in my ability to try and save up money and earn scholarships to help pay for college. After obtaining a degree in kinesiology, earning patient-care hours, and volunteering, I want to get into PA school in order to work towards getting licensed as a Physician Assistant in sports medicine. I want to be able to have a beneficial impact on the lives of others, and I want to work with others in rehabilitation.

I have come to realize how much of an impact life insurance can have on one’s family. If my dad would have had some sort of life insurance coverage, things might have been a lot different for my family and I. We would have not lost our house, my mom would not be in great financial debt, and I would have alternatives towards funding my college education — we would have had a sense of relief. Right now, however, I am heavily reliant on scholarships and financial aid.

Even with all of the sacrifices I have had to make in high school, I don’t regret a single one because I know it will pay off in the end. Throughout all of my high school years, I have managed to maintain a 4.0 unweighted GPA in hopes of earning an academic scholarship. Alongside school, I currently work 2 jobs, as a group lesson tennis coach as well as a private lesson tennis coach to try to help my mom out with bills and save up money for college. Throughout my experiences, I have learned that I can overcome any hurdle in life with determination, hard work, and perseverance. Life will never be easy. I have learned to use my downfalls as a means of encouragement and motivation rather than despair. People may fall down many times in life, but it is how they rise up that defines them.

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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