Introducing CFC’s Perpetual 2016 Pacific Northwest Scholarship Recipient, Mitchell Carbon

Ah summer time in the Pacific Northwest! These are the days we can finally throw away our disheveled rain boots, let our small Ombrophobic dogs out to potty in the lawn without so much as a whimper and best of all, award our newest batch of Cancer for College scholarship recipients!

Each year CFC is gifted with hundreds of exceptional applicants, who not only defeated cancer but further proved that with tenacity, hard work and belief in ones self, anything is possible. Which is why we are beyond honored to award, Mitchell Carbon, with this years Pacific Northwest perpetual scholarship! Not only does Mitchell exemplify these qualities to their fullest but he takes it one step further by passionately giving back to those around him. This quality is why Mitchell will be spending his time at Whitworth University studying Community Health, all in an effort to help others who are suffering in their time of need. Check out Mitchell’s Q&A with CFC below to learn more about this extraordinary young man and be sure to come meet him at our Annual “Taste to Educate” event in Seattle January 2017!

Q&A with our Pacific Northwest Perpetual Scholarship Recipient, Mitchell Carbon.

Mitchell Carbon

What is your health like now (if you are comfortable sharing)?

My health is only moving in the right direction. In some ways I am still recovering but as time goes on my mind, body, and spirit all heal.

What are you looking forward to most about college?
Most of all I’m looking forward to a fresh start with new people. I love all the people who were with me throughout my journey but it will be nice to start fresh at a school where no one knows my medical history.

How do you want to use your cancer experience to help others/give back?
I don’t know exactly how yet but I want to use my experience to help people in some way. Whatever that may be, I want to better the lives of people with my understanding and compassion of people who are suffering like those who helped me.

What is something about yourself that you want others to know?
I want others to know that I’m just a regular person who had an extraordinary opportunity (one most people don’t get in life) to prove to the world what I am made of. I am really just like everyone else

What do you like to do in your spare time — e.g. hobbies?
I really like to spend time doing things with my friends. Especially watching movies! Step Brothers and Harry Potter are some of my favorites!

Do you have any idea what you might want to study in college?
I was really inspired by the people who took care of me during my journey. So I am thinking about teaching or being a nurse. I hope I can make a difference in someone’s life like my nurses and teachers did for me.

Best part of summer so far? One thing you want to do before summer ends?
Honestly, the best part of my summer this year has been getting ready for college. It’s such an exciting time normally for kids, but for me it’s even more exciting because I thought I would never be here. It’s beyond amazing to think I have a life without cancer to look forward to. One thing I want to do before this summer is over is getting in shape!

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Survivor Spotlight: The (Nickolas) Main Event

On July 1, I got to be part one of the best days each year at Cancer for College: the day we contact applicants and inform them that they are won a Cancer for College scholarship. I experienced this myself back in 2011, when Craig Pollard called to tell me I would receive a CFC scholarship and made it possible for me to attend my first-choice school. I will never forget my feelings of shock and gratitude that left me near-speechless. As soon as the call ended, I jumped up from my family’s well-worn, blue couch to tell as my parents and siblings the good news.

This year, though, I was honored to be on the other end of the call, and was rocked by wave after wave of thankfulness, relief, and happy tears from recipients and their families.

It was awesome.

One call, in particular, sticks out to me. Every year, we award at least one perpetual scholarship, the recipient of which receives our highest-dollar scholarship for four years without needing to reapply! The only stipulation is for the perpetual scholarship to be given to an incoming freshman attending school in Southern California. This year, Nickolas Main was the deserving recipient.

There was just one problem…we could not get a hold of him.

We left messages. He would call back. We would be on the phone with another recipient, and he would leave a message. We would call back and the call would drop. It felt like a comical game of phone tag! Finally, after multiple attempts, we established a good connection but he did not have time to talk because he was heading into a panel at the Los Angeles Anime Expo.

That is when I realized Nickolas Main was much cooler than me. To make a long story short, we eventually connected to award Nick with his well-deserved perpetual scholarship. July 1 was the first day we had ever spoken with Nickolas, but we felt like we already knew him because we had poured over his application, and been caught up in his articulate and passionate essays describing his journey through cancer. We are excited to actually get to know him in person, and wanted to share some of his story with you because everyone should have the opportunity to be encouraged by this courageous survivor’s story.

With Nickolas’ permission, below is a portion of the essay from his application. We hope you are left changed after reading, and take the opportunity to meet Nickolas himself later this year, at our 23rd Annual Classy Golf Classic and Un-Gala After Party, on October 14 at Coronado Golf Course on Coronado Island.

Nick Main

Nickolas Main, 2016 Cancer for College Perpetual Scholarship Recipient

“Cancer. This word is so menacing in our society. A simple word can cause people to eat healthier, exercise more, wear more sunscreen, and go to the doctor for excessive check ups. The connotation behind the word being death, anything associated with this word is deemed a death sentence; yet as children we rarely, if ever, think about cancer. We go through our childhoods with an unfounded sense of immortality; yeah Grandpa got it, but that’s not me. We weave the fabric of our dreams with quick fluid motions; full of life and imagination, never imagining that one word could rip that fabric to shreds.

Cancer.

The loud ringing that muffled out the world ceases. As reality set in I became aware of what happened. He said cancer. The stupid bump on my arm that he said was a normal break so long ago was now cancer. My emotions broke through the flood gates. Fear and panic plagued my mind. I felt helpless as the impending mortality of the world closed in on my immortal dreams. I am too young to die. This thought rapidly raced through my mind. I would never go to college, never marry, and never have kids. I would never truly live. My thoughts turn from what would never be to what would; Chemo, tests, and surgeries all laid before me. The light that was my future, slowly diminished below the horizon and the darkness of death encompassed me.

As the depression of facing my dark new world set in, I saw my mother. Tears filled eyes and a horrified expression on her face. An expression as if she had not done enough to stop this unforeseeable force. The look in her eyes was a look of failure; failure to protect her child. She believed she was to blame for this happening to me. The more the tears streamed down her face the more I realized the pain this was causing her. She was the best mother I could have ever asked for, always there for me always caring. This amazing woman thought that, in this terrible moment, she failed at being my mother.

It was then that I made a vow to myself to not let cancer kill me. Cancer would not take away my smile, my laugh, or the precious moments with my family. I had no idea what the next day would bring but I knew I would face it with a brave heart, and all of my courage. I never again wanted to see the same pain that was on my mother’s face, so I chose not to. I chose to become an immovable rock for my family, never letting cancer kill my spirit. My family is one of the most important things to me, and I decided I would do anything for them. I realized I had something worth fighting for, and I wasn’t going to let a stupid word determine my future.

Cancer.

My battle with cancer has helped me realize what is going on in the world around me. To watch others battle cancer, to watch families devastated by this disease had been a life altering realization. The realization is that I can make a difference. I can share my story and show others that there is hope there is a reason to keep going. We have a Facebook page for supporters in my community. It is called “cancer cant kick Nick.” On this page I have watched strangers share stories of inspiration by me sharing my struggle. I have attended events that I have been pulled aside and told “your story kept me going, kept me fighting, you’re the reason Im here today”. I as a Christian young man feel God has called me to go out in the world share and make a difference. I wish to go to college to work in the film industry. I am hoping that in doing so I can share my story in the public light. That I can have my battle help in a larger scale to those around me. I know that my battle is still one day at a time, but reaching at least one person each day I move forward is the biggest difference I can make. Cancer will not define me but It has made me reach higher, go longer and know that I Nick Main can make a difference.

 

To find out how you can help more cancer survivors like Nick achieve their goal of graduating from college, please visit cancerforcollege.org


 

Pro Pic - CircleAbout the author: Mitch Friesen is a childhood cancer survivor, CFC scholarship recipient (2011-2014), and now works for Cancer for College as their Director of Growth & Community. Mitch graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business Management and minor in Theology. A lifelong learner and lover of adventure, when Mitch is not catching up with all of the awesome CFC recipients, he can be found enjoying the outdoors with his bombshell of a wife (Abbey), watching/playing soccer, and drinking coffee.