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Youth Education Award Recipients 2023

Brett Joseph

Brett Joseph (Edmonton, AB)

Pursuing Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alberta

Diagnosed with a Pilocytic Astrocytoma at age 13

Generously funded by Stone Tree Golf and Fitness

I am beyond grateful to receive the 2023 Youth Education Award! Thank you to everyone involved; this scholarship will greatly assist me in paying for my tuition this year at the University of Alberta, so that I can continue my studies in Urban and Regional Planning. Paying for my tuition was a worry in my mind since I will soon need to undergo intensive surgery and will be unable to work for many months during treatment and recovery. This award will enable me to focus on healing while still continuing with my education. Thank you again for this great honour!

Ilya Bigarov

Ilya Bigarov (Ottawa, ON)

Computer Systems Technician, Algonquin College

Diagnosed with an Ependymoma at age 8

Generously funded by R. Angus King Legacy Fund

I am incredibly thankful for receiving the Brain Tumor Foundation award generously funded by R. Angus Legacy Fund. Having received this award relieves some financial pressure of paying for college, in turn allowing me to focus on my studies. It was always my dream to become a skilled cybersecurity professional, as this profession perfectly aligns with my passion for technology and my desire to contribute to society through online safety. Despite the obstacles I have faced and the limitations the illness has caused, I remain determined to pursue a career in the field of cybersecurity and I will strive to make a positive impact in the world and contribute to a safer digital landscape for all. Thanks to the award I will be able to achieve my career goals and fulfill my dream.

Alicia Chenier

Alicia Chenier (Sudbury, ON)

Bachelor of Arts – Disability Studies, Toronto Metropolitan University

Diagnosed with an Craniopharyngioma at 8 months

Generously funded by Kumar Classic

I will be attending Toronto Metropolitan University in the fall to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies. Having a brain tumour has caused me to have low vision as well as various chronic illnesses. All of this making it near impossible to have a job and pursue school. This scholarship will help me tremendously for taking financial stress off me so I can focus on my studies more and enjoy all that university has to offer. This scholarship will help me achieve my goals of bringing disability representation to the world as well as be an advocate for those pursuing education living with a brain tumour and disabilities and show them that they can achieve anything no matter what.

Justin Lou

Justin Lou (Richmond Hill, ON)

Bachelor of Arts – Speech and Language Sciences, York University

Diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma at age 4

Generously funded by Deys Fabricating

It is with immense honour and gratitude that I accept this scholarship. It is a remarkable acknowledgment of the dedication and hard work I have put into my educational journey. Receiving this award means so much to me. The scholarship will take away a lot of my financial stress and allow me to focus on school, continue to pursue my dreams, and strive for excellence despite any setbacks that may occur. It also grants me the hope and optimism for a future full of boundless opportunities.

My earlier academic years were fraught with tremendous challenges, which not only strengthened my character but also ignited a fiery passion within me to achieve more. I want to sincerely thank Deys Fabricating and Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for your tremendous support. Thank you for believing in my potential and thank you for making a difference in my life! I will carry this kindness and generosity with me as I continue to reach for my fullest development.

Ryan Burris

Ryan Burris (Campbellton, NB)

D. des sciences de la sante, University of Moncton

Diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma at age 14

Generously funded by Deys Fabricating

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada award aligns perfectly with my interests and personal development. I view it as an outstanding opportunity to enhance my post-secondary studies and gain valuable experience in my journey to become a doctor. This scholarship or bursary would greatly support my years of study. I have applied to Université de Moncton for the “Diplôme Préparatoire aux
Sciences de la Sante” program with the goal of becoming a doctor to help sick children in need, as I was also a patient at the IWK hospital. I have several years of education and practice ahead of me before embarking on my career. This scholarship or bursary will enable me to pursue my learning and thrive in my university education, fostering a well-rounded development.

Arianna Elder-Johnson

Arianna Elder-Johnson (London, ON)

Undergrad in Classical Studies, Western University

Diagnosed with a Pituitary Macroadenoma at age 18

Generously funded by Deys Fabricating

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be this year’s recipient of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Education Award for Young Brain Tumour Survivors. With the struggles and adversities I have faced this year, with both my physical and mental health, supporting myself through university has been and will continue to be a challenge. This award makes a significant difference in my life, affording me the opportunity to worry less about finances for my mother and I. Furthermore, being the recipient makes it possible for me to continue my education and pursue my passion for Classical studies at Western University.

Sophia Spencer

Sophia Spencer (Winnipeg, MB)

Bachelor of Science, University of Manitoba

Diagnosed with a Diffuse Low Grade Glioma at age 17

Generously funded in honour of Alison Watts

I am honoured, humbled and proud to be one of the recipients of a 2023 Youth Education Award! I am forever grateful to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the generous donor(s) honoring Alison Watts for granting me this award.

Ever since I was a child, I have been a scholar, always dreaming of my future educational endeavors and prioritizing school above everything else. When I was diagnosed with brain cancer halfway through my grade eleven year, I had to work harder than ever to prove to my doubtful teachers and myself that I am still smart and I have a bright future ahead of me, despite the new state of my brain. Since then, I have lived with the side effects of my tumour, such as developing epilepsy, but proven I can still succeed.

This award will help me commence my post-secondary education at The University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Science without any financial burden, letting me focus solely on my studies. I dream of one day attending medical school and becoming a neurologist to help others in my situation. Another dream of mine would be to become an elementary school teacher to help children succeed and believe in themselves no matter what their situation may be.

Once again, I’d like to emphasise my gratitude to the donor(s) honoring Alison Watts by offering me these funds. Having my journey and efforts recognized means the world to me. You have changed my life in ways you wouldn’t believe, and I will never forget your generosity!

Daniel Peters

Daniel Peters (Waterloo, ON)

Fitness and Health Promotion, Conestoga College

Diagnosed with low grade Glioma at age 12

Generously funded by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada- In honour of Susan Marshall

I want to thank the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and its donors for the generous gift of this scholarship award. It means a lot to me that people are so supportive of students, like myself, who have had many challenges in their lives after surviving a brain tumour. This kind gift will cover my tuition for my first year studying Fitness and Health Promotion at Conestoga College. Because of this scholarship, I will have more financial flexibility for other educational and personal costs. I am excited to be starting the next step of my education. Even with hard work and challenges ahead, I will meet these challenges with a positive attitude and the willingness to keep going, one day at a time. Thank you for supporting my journey!

Haven Raeburn-Gibson

Haven Raeburn-Gibson (London, ON)

Bachelor of Arts, Kings University College

Diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma at age 15

Generously funded by Deys Fabricating

I would like to thank you for choosing me to receive The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Scholarship Education Award for the 2023/24 academic year. I am looking very forward to continuing my major in Disability Studies and a minor in Psychology at King’s University College, Western, this year.

Receiving this scholarship means so much to me. It will allow me to focus on my studies rather than have to worry about how to pay for them. Although I did work in the summer from May through August, it was at an overnight Christian summer camp–which means much of the value of my work was in its meaningfulness, rather than a high remuneration! With this scholarship I will be able to continue my studies and still have time to volunteer at King’s and in the greater London community. I love to volunteer with groups like ‘Relay for Life’ that raises money for cancer research; and ‘Dreams Come True Music Studios’ where I can help and be a mentor to others, who like myself, face greater day to day challenges than most people.

My BIG goal for this year is to show my professors, the staff and students at King’s what I am capable of, and to let my light shine around the people and campuses of London. I have been truly thankful and grateful for the life I have to live and lead since brain surgery. I will strive to live every day to the fullest for the rest of my life.

Cassandra Stewart

Cassandra Stewart (Fredericton, NB)

Bachelor of Education, St. Thomas University

Diagnosed with an Astrocytoma at 4 months

Generously funded by Donors of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and Rigatoni for Research

I am very thankful to be a recipient of this scholarship. This money will allow me to complete my final year of school and reach my dream of becoming a teacher. Because of this award, I will be able to complete my education without the financial burden.