Ameritas Recipient

Morgan Portis

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: The University of Alabama

My Dad was one who threw me into the air and caught me mid-fall. He taught me to swim, and I jumped into the pool without fear, knowing he would catch me. He made me feel safe and loved. Sadly, he died October 2020 after years of battling Vascular Dementia. I originally thought dementia only affected memory. However, it affects every single function the brain controls. My father lost his ability to walk, talk, move, swallow, eat, drink, and breathe. His heart lost its ability to beat. I helped care for him as his health deteriorated.

Dementia is a horrible way to die. My father’s death was completely devastating. I remain heartbroken, and our home feels empty. I have anxiety attacks, realizing Dad will never catch and hold me again. Additionally, we face overwhelming financial losses because he was our sole source of income. Now we struggle to survive on 25% of that amount. Unfortunately, life insurance was inadequate, covering only burial expenses. My mother may sell our home and downsize. She trimmed all expenses. We sold two vehicles, eat less food, stay home, and forego seeing friends. My mother stopped working to care for my father. Unfortunately, lifting him damaged her back and she can no longer work, especially considering added depression and anxiety.

My father’s death also significantly impacted college plans. I originally planned to attend medical school and study dermatology. My 17-year-old brother begins college Fall 2022. Paying for one undergraduate degree presents hardships, but two stretches finances beyond all capabilities. Now downscaled, my goals are to become a Certified Nursing Practitioner. Medical school is not an option. To provide for ourselves, my brother and I work hard in school to obtain merit scholarships. I have been granted Work-Study. Meanwhile, I seek any job to begin work ASAP to support us. I will also work while attending college. It may take longer and be more difficult, but I am determined to obtain my degree and become a CNP, as foundations for a better life, no matter what it takes. Through this, I learned financial planning, including life insurance, is imperative to preserve family goals.

If my father had adequate insurance, I would not be anxious about finances. Medical school would be possible. I would not work but, rather, focus on schoolwork. I would eat well and socialize with friends. I would be a carefree teenager and the little girl thrown into air or jumping into pools. With adequate insurance, my father would have “caught” me in my time of need. I will not make similar mistakes when I have a family. If one dies, lost income must be replaced to provide for family and prevent severe financial hardships.

This scholarship would relieve my financial anxiety. I will pay forward your kindness by giving back to others in need. This scholarship could (and would) change my life. I would be extremely honored and humbled to receive it. I promise to represent you well, in honor of my father.

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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