Forum400 Recipient

Kailyn Le

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Northeastern University
The months following my father’s passing forced me to carry myself with a flawless facade that served to mask my despair. I reminiscenced on most of my eighth-grade summer that was spent in the hospital, acclimating myself to its day-to-day operations as I accompanied my feeble father. My father was a working-class laborer, but when he fell ill with complete renal failure, his health and my family’s finances simultaneously declined. Without the financial means to combat the exponential growth of my father’s hospital bills, my family and I found ourselves in a situation that over 50 million other Americans face: underinsurance or even no health insurance. Due to the high costs of healthcare, we had to deter and delay from seeking medical help. Thus, this vicious cycle of ill health and poverty maintained the poor quality of life that my family and I were forced to live. Maybe, just maybe if we had consulted a doctor and started dialysis treatment earlier, my dad would be here with me now.

Seeing my father’s quick decline sparked my fascination with the field of health science and I cannot fathom pursuing a more fulfilling and compassionate way to contribute to the world than promoting wellness and being of service to others; but ultimately, my goal is to end the cycle of ill health and poverty and to prevent other individuals from experiencing what I experienced. As a full-time student and part-time employee, there were countless times where my desire to help my family financially clouded my priorities. At the crack of dawn, I’d wake up to drive my younger siblings to school; once school ended, I would drive to work, only to stay behind to close. Those late nights in which my tired eyes fought against the need to complete my homework often resulted in my defeat, and as I lay in bed, I often ruminated about how I’d repeat the same process the next day.

Those who are left behind with such a financial burden find difficulty trying to rebuild their lives after such a traumatic event. As the eldest child and a first-generation student from a low-income family, I obtained a job in my junior year, and all of these funds go directly to my mother as an effort to help my family’s finances. In the future, I hope to achieve financial stability, something that I have not had the opportunity of having during my childhood and adolescent years. If I am selected for the Life Lessons Scholarship, I can further my education without placing a financial burden upon my widowed mother, and gain the knowledge and skills to educate others about the need to reform the healthcare system.

Because I was deprived of my father’s support and guidance during the time in which I needed it most, I realized, for the first time, that I was actually really privileged; I was not rich in terms of money, but rather in terms of love and affection, for which I am grateful.

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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