My name is Courtney and I would first like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous donation of $1,000. My family and I are so grateful as this allows me to further my college education.
I am twenty-three years old from a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I love to travel, sing, speak Spanish, and I am an avid New York Yankees baseball fan (thanks to my grandfather). I have 3 sisters, and one brother, me being the second oldest.
I grew up in a Lutheran church and went to private Lutheran school kindergarten through eighth grade. After going to public high school I know for college I wanted to get back to something Christian but always thought it was out of my price range. I absolutely love the opportunity to go to chapel twice a week, have religion classes again, and have my professors pray over us before each class. It really makes the difference in education when the professors have Gods’ spirit in them. I have a tremendous amount of love and appreciation for Olivet, and I have never felt more at home. Since I have been here I have been not only tested and challenged everyday but encouraged. Every day my faith is becoming stronger in the Lord, and I am uplifted and held accountable by my peers and professors. It is an incredible feeling. Thank you so much for making that possible.
My father is a factory worker, and my mother is a manager of the Walmart Bakery, and funds have always been tight. Funds became even tighter in April of 2005 when I was diagnosed with bone cancer in my right knee. I received chemotherapy for thirty-five weeks (one treatment even being on my twelfth birthday), I lost my hair twice, I got down to 50 lbs, and I slipped into a coma. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Since 2005, I have also had sixty-two leg surgeries including five knee replacements, that last being this December 2015, in efforts to learn how to walk again. (I’m getting really close!) In light of all that, I just celebrated being ten years’ cancer free February 6, 2016 (Babe Ruth’s birthday).
While in the hospital I actually found the career I am currently pursuing: a child life specialist. When I was diagnosed there was a man named David who organized dog shows, circuses, professional athletes, and many other organizations to come visit us in the hospital. He also helped us with our make-a-wish, did arts and crafts with us daily, went to surgery or testing with us if our parents couldn’t make and just talked to us if we needed a friend. Things get very lonely and sad there and anything that can help break up the monotony, or give those kids something to look forward to and smile about is so worth it. I cannot wait to graduate and help those kids like I was helped. I have actually had the opportunity the past two summers to work at Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for kids with cancer and blood related diseases being a staff member in the music department. I love that for one week those kids get to feel normal and experience something besides the hospital walls. That they have a safe place where they do not get made fun of, where people understand what they are going through, and they get to run around and have fun!
Once again I want to thank you for your incredibly generous and giving hearts. I want to thank you for not only allowing me to pursue my dreams but to pursue the Lord at a wonderful place like Olivet.