The “Strong Arm of Georgia” continually strives to recognize the fight that leukemia patients and their families undergo in the face of a leukemia diagnosis. John Foy & Associates created the “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship in an effort to make it easier for impacted students to chase their academic dreams despite the demands and cost of treatments.
John Foy & Associates awarded its 2023 “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship to Jeremiah Hughes, a student at Liberty University.
Hughes continues to contend with a rare strain of leukemia’s impact on his day-to-day life, but he does so with a smile. His scholarship essay tells the story of a young man who grew his determination out of sorrow in an effort to preserve his lifelong dreams.
Facing an Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Diagnosis
Hughes faced an acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis in October 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia impacts the health of a person’s blood and bone marrow by creating immature blood cells. The “acute” nature of the cancer sees it progress more rapidly than non-acute conditions.
The impacts of the diagnosis weren’t solely physical, either. Hughes says that he retreated into himself because he couldn’t bring himself to face other people’s pity. According to his scholarship essay, it took him until early 2021 to reconnect with his community.
Accommodations From Friends, Family, and Classmates
Hughes’ scholarship essay tells a story of not only personal but community perseverance. In a time when medical concerns can be overlooked or confused, Hughes’ experience with acute lymphoblastic leukemia saw his high school teachers, classmates, and loved ones come together to protect his compromised health.
This isn’t to say that Hughes’ fight with leukemia has been free of social struggles, though. Hughes reports encounters with authority figures, including police officers, where his needs were overlooked or minimized. One such encounter, wherein a police officer told Hughes that he didn’t want to hear a “sob story” explanation for a parking ticket, led Hughes to say:
“I was angry not because of what he had said, but because my story wasn’t a sob story at all. I was blessed to be able to overcome this disease; not many are as lucky as me. This wasn’t a sob story at all. My story was a story of triumph. I overcame a disease that had almost taken my life and that had once taken all joy and happiness I had ever felt.”
That mindset continues to be a boon to not only Hughes but the people who love and support him.
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Hughes’ Avascular Necrosis Diagnosis and Other Healthcare Crises
Hughes may have overcome the worst leukemia had to throw at him, but that’s not to say that his life since has been easy. The steroids he received during chemotherapy weakened his joints, leading him to develop avascular necrosis.
Hughes has had his right shoulder replaced once. He has had his left shoulder replaced three times, the first to address joint wear and twice more to address infections. He had his first hip replacement in July 2023.
Hughes is candid about how frustrating these setbacks can be but also highlights the uniqueness of his situation. He doesn’t “have” to have replacements, he says – he “gets” to. In doing so, he gets to live as close to a healthy life as possible, taking on accommodations so he can continue to push through.
Pursuing a Degree Alongside Leukemia Treatments
Hughes currently studies data analytics at Liberty University as a junior. He intends to graduate in 2025, at which point he wants to work as a data analyst. When he’s not going to doctors’ appointments or scheduling essential surgeries, he volunteers at his local church.
When asked about his plans for the future and this scholarship’s role in those goals, Hughes says:
“I had to make a lot of adjustments to my life along with my academic career. There really isn’t a day that goes by where I make a decision not based on what all cancer has involved for me. I know a lot of people who struggle to find the willpower to overcome difficult situations, and I used to struggle with the same thing.
Now that I have found that power to overcome my battles, I think it is important to share my story to hopefully inspire others.”
About John Foy & Associates “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship
John Foy & Associates opens its “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship to students directly or indirectly impacted by a leukemia diagnosis. The firm recognizes the determination and resources it requires to fight leukemia. The firm hopes that this scholarship makes it easier for students to continue that fight without sacrificing their long-term goals.
Students interested in applying for the 2024/2025 “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship can begin preparing materials for next year’s submission period. Students must submit a 500 to 1,000-word essay on one of the following topics if they want the scholarship selection committee to consider their application:
- How has living with your or your loved one’s leukemia affected your education?
- What adjustments have you made as a student to accommodate your or a loved one’s leukemia?
- What one obstacle do people with leukemia face that you would like the general public to know about?
The scholarship selection committee requests that students also include a paragraph detailing the ways in which the scholarship may benefit them. This paragraph does not count as part of the student’s total word count.
Students must submit their scholarship applications on time and with all applicable materials if they want a chance to win the “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship. John Foy & Associates scholarship selection committee will not consider late or incomplete applications.
John Foy & Associates Offers Its Hearty Congratulations to Jeremiah Hughes
John Foy & Associates want to take another opportunity to congratulate Jeremiah Hughes for the continual dedication he’s shown in the face of a prolonged battle with leukemia. Hughes’ scholarship essay serves as a testament to his flexibility as well as his determination to chase his dreams.
Students interested in applying for John Foy & Associates’ “Strong Arm” Leukemia Scholarship ahead of the 2024/2025 academic year can keep an eye on the firm’s website for updates to the scholarship’s terms and conditions. The team looks forward to hearing more inspirational stories from students determined to pursue their dreams despite leukemia’s impact on their lives.