Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Leanne Joyce is one of the recipients of our 2018 Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award. During the fall and spring semesters, scholarships are presented by Auger & Auger to students throughout America who have exceeded expectations and worked very hard to overcome their disabilities. Additionally, recipients of the Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar award have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom and they make positive impacts in their communities. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.
Leanne was born with aortic valve stenosis, a heart condition that narrows the valve. But she’s never let that keep her down. At age 11, Leanne received an award for her ability to complete 290 jump rope double unders in one minute, and swim 25 yards freestyle in under 15 seconds. Yet, at age 12, her cardiologist told her she could no longer participate in aerobic exercise due to her condition.
When she received this news, Leanne was forced to face the challenge and confusion of the loss of her identity as an athlete. Facing this challenge was something that Leanne internalized for some time. During this struggle, a simple act of kindness inspired her when she received an iTunes gift card from some hospital volunteers. That small gesture was a positive impact for her and she began to believe that maybe she could do something for other children with similar circumstances. With this realization, she turned to a new goal: Helping other children who are hospitalized. She founded a nonprofit organization called Positive Impact for Kids. Through her nonprofit, she has raised over $140,000 to improve the hospital experience for pediatric patients throughout the United States.
This financial support is used to purchase distraction and education tools, such as iPads, which are then distributed to hospitals. The hope is that that these tools will help to meet the various emotional needs of hospitalized children. So far, Positive Impact for Kids has provided more than 130 iPads, 2,000 gift cards, gaming systems, laptops and other items, impacting the lives of more than 600,000 children.
Leanne also currently serves as a role model and peer mentor for Adults Transitioning to Leadership and Success (ATLAS), which provides comfort and assistance to adolescents dealing with chronic illness.
Leanne is currently enrolled at Furman University. After college, she plans to attend medical school to pursue her goal of becoming a psychiatrist. She plans to work in a pediatric hospital or found her own practice. And, of course, Leanne plans to continue her involvement with Positive Impact for Kids for the rest of her life.
Leanne wants people who are facing similar conditions she faced to know that there are people who care about them.
“It is important to remember there is always someone you can talk to for comfort or advice,” she says. “I want to remind people that they should be patient and take care of themselves as much as possible.”