Survivor Spotlight: Patrick Nissan

We truly never get tired of bragging on our awesome recipients, and this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of their accomplishments! Here is Patrick Nissan, one more of our 2015 perpetual scholarship recipients.

Patrick Nissan UC Santa Barbara Molecular Biology Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor

                        Patrick Nissan
                     UC Santa Barbara
                      Molecular Biology
      Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor

From the beginning, Patrick refused to let cancer negatively influence his life. Even as an 11-year-old with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma he recognized that cancer impacts families, not just individuals. As such, he took it upon himself to be strong for them during his treatment. His strength endured after he was declared cancer free, and he became very active in school and medicine. Even though he played tennis and participated in academic trivia club throughout high school, he found time to volunteer at the hospital ICU for two years, taking lab specimens to the lab and retrieving them from the blood bank.

Treatment involves more than just medicine, though. Patrick made it a point to interact with patients in the ICU, empathizing with them and letting them know that they are not alone. The people he comes in contact with are bettered not just by Patrick’s work ethic, but also by his genuine care and positivity. He hopes to continue the path he is on, and even go full circle, eventually returning to the medical field to “be a part of a team that improves the prognosis of a cancer diagnosis” at the same hospital that gave him his life back.


Survivor Spotlight: Lily Newton

It’s time to meet another one of our fantastic 2015 perpetual scholarship recipients. Join us in congratulating the ever-so-talented Lily Newton!

Lily Newton Tisch School of the Arts at NYU Film & Television Production Ewing's Sarcoma Survivor

                           Lily Newton
           Tisch School of the Arts at NYU
            Film & Television Production
             Ewing’s Sarcoma Survivor

Few people have the gall to face a cancer diagnosis better than Lily. Upon discovering that, at 14 years old, she had Ewing’s Sarcoma she decided to never be defined or described by her illness. This resolve served her through a tumultuous year of treatment, being buffeted back and forth between a world of adults and medicine and high school gossip and school projects. Lily beat cancer, though, with the help of friends, family, and doctors alike.

Lily told us that, “Any traits or features that defined me were so new and delicate that it’s impossible to say whether or not I’d still have them today, regardless of my illness.” However, her illness afforded her the chance, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to observe and interact with Peter Jackson and the rest of the crew on the set of The Hobbit. Since that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Lily has begun creating her own films and is now attending one of the best film schools in the nation. You heard it here first: Lily Newton will be a household name in film and television!

Survivor Spotlight: Genesis Codina

Every year, we have the privilege of welcoming new scholarship recipients into the Cancer for College family. All of them work so hard to overcome cancer, and tenaciously dedicate themselves to doing their very best academically as well. We are so happy to get to know them as they begin an exciting new chapter at college.

We are already so inspired by them and could not keep them to ourselves any longer. This is the first in a series of six posts to help you get acquainted with the new 2015 perpetual scholarship recipients, who are each awarded our top scholarship for four years without the need to re-apply. Congratulations again to all of our new recipients!

Genesis Codina

UC Santa Barbara Business Thyroid Cancer Survivor

            UC Santa Barbara
      Thyroid Cancer Survivor

“A breath of fresh air.” Genesis is the kind of person you think of when you hear this phrase. But how can this be, when a cancer that was declared “easy” by her doctors is still not gone, three years after the fact? The answer is clearly due to Genesis’ selfless nature, and heartfelt desire to serve others who are similarly afflicted. Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer when she was 15, Genesis has since endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. More difficult than anything was learning that this cancer had struck a “cord” most previous: her vocal cords. The singing career that Genesis has been working toward for nearly a decade was now in jeopardy thanks to cancer.

Even so, Genesis chose to fight back and give back. Genesis uses her misfortune to smile upon others, volunteering with multiple childhood cancer and environmental relief organizations. Leadership in these areas has sparked her interest in business, which she is now formally studying at UC Santa Barbara with the intention to “start an organization to help support underprivileged families and kids going through what I went through because sometimes a little bit of support can make all the difference in the life of someone dealing with a deadly disease.” And don’t worry, even with such a full life ahead of her, Genesis has not given up on singing.