Congratulations to our 2021 InfuCare Rx Scholarship Recipients: Lily Ardente, Alexis Wade, Camden Alderman, Jessica Horne, Gabrielle Jenkins, and Nathan Mermilliod!
The annual InfuCare Rx Scholarship Program offers three categories of financial support, awarded to individuals diagnosed with chronic conditions pursuing higher education. The scholarships are available to persons with bleeding disorders, neuromuscular conditions, and primary immunodeficiencies.
Every year as our program grows, we receive a significant number of qualified applicants. In the end, these individuals stood out as people who represent hard work, perseverance, and dedication in the face of ongoing challenges.
Bleeding Disorders Scholarship Recipients
Nathan Mermilliod, a sophomore at Chapman University, is studying biology with the goal of conducting research in a laboratory, and perhaps applying to medical school to become a doctor. His severe hemophilia B has shaped his life and his future by inspiring his interest in medicine, and passion for leadership, service, and advocacy.
Earlier this year, Nathan spoke at the Los Angeles International Airport teaching TSA officers about hemophilia and addressing travel-related concerns for people with all hidden disabilities. The speech was filmed and sent to headquarters, where it will be shown to TSA officers at all federally-run airports across the country. As a motivated, creative, and responsible person, Nathan’s ambition is to continue to make a profound difference in the bleeding disorders community.
“There is no cause more prominent in my life than to protect people from a life of limitations and medical hardships and to continue to advocate for the hemophilia community.”-Nathan Mermilliod
Alexis Wade is a junior at University of Central Florida studying nursing and health sciences. She has von Willebrand Disease (vWD), a condition that is often accompanied by joint bleeds and bruising, which forced her to quit gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading. Alexis pivoted her focus on making differences where she could, learning more about bleeding disorders, joining the local hemophilia chapter, and volunteering at the hospital. She now wants to care for children with complex diseases; specifically, to become a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Alexis is most proud of her ability to smile her way through pain, tears, and times of trial. She tries to bring joy, hope, and a fighting spirit with her.
As a pediatric nurse, I hope to provide excellent medical care along with smiles, hugs, and even an occasional song or story. Eventually, I hope to return to school to become a pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, so that I can provide the best and highest-level care possible to my tiny patients.-Alexis Wade
Neuromuscular Scholarship Recipients
Gabrielle Jenkins is a freshman at Augusta University studying nursing. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at age 14, which presented an additional challenge since most treatments were only available for those diagnosed at 18 years or older.
As the oldest of six children, Gabrielle shared that watching her mother go through many pregnancies, and even sadly several miscarriages, ignited her interest to pursue becoming a midwife.
Despite the many challenges that accompany both her physical and mental health, Gabrielle maintains excellent grades and still finds a way to perform classical piano and violin, despite many painful MS flare-ups.
There were many days I wanted to give up, but my goals are bigger than my grief.-Gabrielle Jenkins
Lily Ardente is a doctoral student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, pursuing a medical degree. Just 24 hours after arriving in NYC to begin in-person classes amid the global pandemic, Lily was admitted to the same hospital in which she was supposed to be training in, only to discover that she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
I was scared for what this meant for me as a first-year medical student and budding physician. Was I going to be able to continue in school with all of the stressors that come with it? Was I going to be able to leave my apartment in this pandemic to finally go to school and make friends when I was taking immunosuppressants? And the questions went on and on. However, after finding my fantastic and incredibly compassionate MS physician, as well as reaching out to my school and some of my classmates for help, I realized that I wasn’t going to let this diagnosis get in the way of my dreams that I have had since I was five years old.
As I continue my medical training, I am viewing my education through the lens of a chronically-ill patient. I understand that human beings are deserving of compassionate, holistic care that goes beyond just treating physical symptoms. I cannot wait to become a physician who can help patients physically, emotionally, spiritually, and with compassion and empathy.-Lily Ardente
Jessica Horne is a freshman at Brigham Young University studying Public Relations. She learned of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis while serving a religious mission in Germany when she lost her eye sight. Jessica aspires to work with companies running their social media platforms, raise awareness for the MS community, and empower people to face their challenges. She also hopes to become a mother and raise happy, healthy children for whom she will be there to support through every step of life.
Each experience has been a stepping stone in making me the person I am today. I see myself as a very loving and compassionate person who loves to make everyone feel special. As an extremely optimistic person, I consider myself to be someone whose happiness is contagious. I love to help others, and I love to appreciate life even when it doesn’t go as planned.-Jessica Horne
Primary Immunodeficiency Scholarship Recipient
Camden Alderman lives with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder of the immune system that is characterized by abnormal immune function and a reduced ability to form blood clots. He is a freshman studying engineering at North Carolina A&T State University.
Camden has not been able to find a suitable bone marrow transplant (BMT) donor, which has been one of the most difficult challenges that he has had to face. Despite numerous hospital visits, surgeries, diagnostic procedures, and a compromised immune system, Camden has maintained a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. Ultimately, his goal is to help patients through development of technology that will allow them more control over their treatment options.
“My strength, endurance, and ability to accomplish goals in spite of any adversity.”-Camden Alderman
It is an honor for InfuCare Rx to support students of such high caliber in their educational pursuits. Our team was impressed by their many accomplishments and is pleased to support them in their pursuit of higher education.
To learn more about the InfuCare Rx scholarship program, click here.