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.”
Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Amauri Bowman is one of the recipients of our 2018 Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.
Amauri was born with sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that can cause tremendous pain and serious health problems. When she was 7 years old, her sickled cells clotted an artery, and she suffered a stroke. She underwent an emergency blood transfusion, and has received transfusions once a month since that incident.
Now in her third year at Francis Marion University in South Carolina, Amauri has had to learn how to cope with her pain and prioritize her school work, extracurricular activities and doctor’s appointments. However, he’s always made sure her grade point average was at or above 3.0. Amauri’s always strayed away from using her disability as a hindrance or a crutch, but rather she takes the fullest advantage of life she can.
After graduating from Francis Marion University, Amauri plans to start her nursing career at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She wants to work at MUSC because that’s where she has been taken care of for the last 20 years.
Amauri plans to further her education and become a Pediatric Doctor of Nursing Practice. With this higher education, she wants to give back to those who aren’t able to afford the best healthcare.
She believes her chronic illness and the lessons it’s taught her, including how perseverance, courage and maturity, have prepared her for college and for her career as a nurse. She believes that, because she has sickle cell, she will be able to relate to patients on a different level and be an advocate for them when they’re in pain.
Ultimately, she wants to open as many free health service clinics she can around the globe to provide more than the bare necessities of healthcare. She wants to make sure that every child, woman, man, and elderly person with a chronic illness has access to the proper healthcare for their specific needs.
To those who are also facing disabilities, especially “invisible disabilities” like sickle cell anemia, Amauri’s advice is to “always keep your head up and find the silver lining in situations.”
“My mother always reminded me when I was down about being sick, that there is always someone who is in worse conditions, and that even though we go through things, we are always blessed in some way or another,” she says. “The obstacles that you face in life are put there for a reason, whether it be a lesson to be learned or to make you stronger; whatever you’re going through, just remember that all things work together for your good.”
Even though having sickle cell anemia is challenging, and the pain can sometimes be unbearable, Amauri would never trade the life lessons it’s taught her. She says that having a chronic illness has made her look at life and enjoy even the bad days, because every day spent on this earth is precious — and should be treated as such.
Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Haley Avery is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.
In the summer of 2012, Hailey awoke one morning to find herself unable to get out of bed. Struck with sudden paraplegia, she was rushed into emergency surgery. Over the next 20 months, she endured 13 major surgeries to remove cysts along her spine. These surgeries left her with a variety of ongoing issues, including recurring paralysis.
Looking back on her ongoing struggles, one thing became abundantly clear: Hailey refused to be defeated, to give up or to lose. She made up her mind that she would overcome this obstacle. Hailey chose to combat her challenges with resilience and strength and her determination is to be greatly admired.
Due to her previous surgeries and continuing spinal cord abnormalities, Hailey has gained a new sense of empathy for others. She’s found that what she has gone through isn’t unique in the sense that we all have something we are suffering through. In addition, Hailey has learned that not all struggles are physical, and this has helped her as she has succeeded in her academic studies and in her professional pursuits.
Most of Hailey’s surgeries occurred during her freshman and sophomore years of high school and because of this she completed her studies online. Employers that review her academic records have asked her about this and at first it made her uncomfortable. At that point she was more private and guarded about discussing matters related to her health. Her point of view on this matter has since changed. She now believes that her struggles with her spine have given her a new perspective and have allowed her to connect with others. Hailey has become a lot more accepting of herself and is able to use her own experiences as a way to relate to and communicate with other people.
Hailey is currently a student at Arizona State University at Tempe-Barrett, The Honors College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with certifications in International Business Studies and Data Analytics, with a minor in Russian. After she completes her undergraduate education, she plans to work for a government agency for a few years. She hopes to then either go on to get an MBA or go to Law School. She has even thought about potentially working in tax law matters as future career path.
Her advice to anyone enduring a physical or mental struggle is to never give up. “Although you’re often limited by your struggles, you can always push past them and change your world for the better,” she said. “I initially thought I’d never be able to walk again. I’d never finish high school and go onto college. Now, I’m doing things that I have never dreamt of. The world and your situation do not limit you. Your mind is the only thing that sets you back from your dreams.”
Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Sean Drum is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.
Sean is a fantastic example of how someone with a learning disability can achieve their goals through persistence, dedication and hard work. As an Eagle Scout, Sean learned plenty of valuable life lessons while working on his Eagle Scout project. He created an accessible bird blind on the Trail of Hope in Lyons, NY. During this project, he had to work with many local business leaders and organize many different steps of the overall process.
Instead of worrying about his ADHD affecting his capability of leading this multifaceted project, Sean was able to use his ADHD to his advantage. He figured out creative solutions to the problems he encountered during his time working on this project, and he successfully made improvements to the bird blind that benefited the whole community.
Sean has never let his ADHD limit his learning capacity in the classroom either. He plans to become a successful welder at Alfred State College of Technology. He enjoys working with his hands and plans to fill a need in his community. He has ambitious goals for his welding career after college, wanting to gain as much work experience and learn as much about the profession as he can.
His ultimate goal is to restore historic aircraft in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Also, recognizing that he has an active mind, he wants to eventually return to school to study history.
Not only does Sean enjoy giving back to his community, he also wants to help others that suffer from ADHD. He believes the best way to combat the struggles of ADHD is to never give up, continue to try your hardest in all that you do and always believe in yourself. He suggests that if you struggle with studying or sitting still for hours, doing things with your hands can help you stay focused and avoid getting distracted.
Overall, Sean doesn’t view his ADHD as a disability, but rather as a unique gift that helps him learn and have experiences that other people may not consider.
Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Jon Cowart is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. Twice a year, these scholarships are presented to students throughout America who have overcome their disability and exceeded the limiting expectations placed upon them. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.
Jon Cowart exemplifies positivity and hard work in every aspect of his life. Growing up, Jon constantly dealt with pain in both of his feet due to a birth defect that left them deformed. However, he never let this slow him down, even for a moment. Instead of feeling defeated because he couldn’t participate in all the activities that other boys his age were doing, Jon trusted in his motto — Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — and started actively pursuing his interest in engineering. He has always hoped to become a successful engineer, so he will be able to develop inventions and other innovations that will help others with birth defects avoid the suffering that he experienced.
As Jon entered high school in Pennsylvania, he was given the opportunity to have an experimental surgery performed on his feet to ease his pain. Instead of being afraid, he was excited about the prospect of being able to walk at a normal pace and potentially participate in athletic activities. After a successful surgery, Jon put his strong sense of determination and perseverance to work. Every single day he had to put forth 100% effort in his rehabilitation program to get to the level of movement that he wanted to reach.
Even setbacks couldn’t slow him down. He suffered a fracture in one of his hands in a weightlifting accident, but quickly underwent surgery to replace the bone with a titanium implant and was back in the gym as soon as he was cleared. He now plays on various intramural sports teams at his college, Penn State University.
Jon’s ambition is not only evident on a sports field or in a weight room, it is also clearly visible in the classroom. While he was undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program, he did not settle for taking the easiest classes he could find. Instead, he pushed himself to take AP and honors classes in order to prepare himself for his next goal of excelling in college. Now at Penn State, Jon is pursuing an engineering degree and continues to do his best in the classroom on a daily basis, never letting his disability be an excuse or hold him back.
Jon’s story serves as an inspiration for anyone, but especially for others with physical disabilities who believe they can never achieve certain physical goals. However, Jon is not satisfied with only being an inspiration. He hopes to continue to pursue his engineering goals at Penn State and develop the technology that will help others born with a similar disability to his.