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National Children's Cancer Society is now accepting applications for scholarship program

There are currently more than 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S. In 2010, one out of every 250 young adults living in the U.S. will have survived a childhood cancer. To assist these deserving and inspirational young adults in pursuing their educational dreams, the National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) created its Beyond the Cure (BTC) College Scholarship Program in 2008. Over the past two years, the NCCS has awarded more than 20 college scholarships to survivors of childhood cancers in the U.S. "Being diagnosed with cancer is a hard enough situation to deal with," said Ashley Dobbs, 20, a native of Gallatin, Tenn., and a BTC scholarship recipient in 2008 and 2009. "My mom, a single parent, stopped working in order to give me the 24-hour care I needed. My medical bills depleted her savings and the idea of paying for college seemed impossible. The Beyond the Cure scholarship program gave me back the hope I lost." Dobbs is using her scholarship monies to study nursing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Treating and caring for a child with cancer often creates a large financial burden on families and caregivers. Studies have shown the average family spends 13 percent of their after-tax income on illness-related expenses. Thirty-seven percent of families report the need to borrow money because of the devastating financial effects of their child's illness. "Not being able to afford and pursue a college education should never be an after effect of childhood cancer," said Mark Stolze, president and chief executive officer of the NCCS. "These outstanding young men and women are pillars of strength and hope. Their experiences with cancer have taught them many life lessons and they have demonstrated their ability to overcome significant challenges. The scholarships awarded through our BTC program allow them to pursue their educational dreams and to achieve their career aspirations." For many survivors, the cancer journey often reveals their chosen career path. Such is the case with Dobbs. After graduation, she aspires to help fellow pediatric cancer survivors and wants to use her experiences to assist others with their difficulties. "Empathy is one of the most powerful emotions available to us," Dobbs said. "Being able to genuinely feel for someone and understand what they are going through is therapeutic to all parties involved." How to Apply for a Beyond the Cure Scholarship To be eligible for a 2010 - 2011 scholarship, interested applicants must be a survivor of childhood cancer under the age of 25, have been diagnosed before the age of 18 and be a citizen of the United States. In addition, applicants need to provide proof of acceptance to an accredited college, university or vocational/technical school institution for the fall 2010 semester. Applicants should fully complete the BTC scholarship application, which is available at www.beyondthecure.org. All potential recipients will be asked to compose an original 1,000-word essay describing the courage and determination demonstrated through their cancer experiences and how it has impacted their lives today. The completed application form and all requested accompanying materials must be received by 4:30 p.m. on March 29. Applications should be mailed to The National Children's Cancer Society, Beyond the Cure Scholarship, One South Memorial Drive, Suite 800, St. Louis, MO 63102. Recipients based on their medical history, written essay, commitment to community service, financial status and grade point average.

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