Scholarships can help you through college: Take the first step in the scholarship process

When someone mentions “college scholarships,” many people immediately think of football, basketball or some other type of sports scholarship. You may also think of academic scholarships.

In both cases, you are right. College scholarships are awarded to students based on merit as well as need, and the money doesn’t have to be repaid.

Merit-based scholarships go to students who are superb academic or athletic performers. For example, the National Merit Scholarship is a competitive scholarship given to students on a merit basis. This scholarship can be subjective and sometimes the best-qualified student may not always win. The same goes for athletic merit scholarships.

Need-based scholarships go to students who cannot afford to attend a college where they have been accepted. You can receive this type of scholarship at many schools. The money can be quite large depending on the financial-aid resources of a particular college as well as your financial need.

There is another type of college scholarship called specialty scholarships. Most colleges have a special group of awards that are usually provided by graduates of the school. This type of college scholarship gives money to first year students according to unique considerations.

For example, church-affiliated colleges may have some specially endowed scholarships for young men and women who are members of that denomination. Other specialty awards might go to students from certain geographic areas. Be aware that these types of specialty scholarships may have a variety of requirements and restrictions.

The first step in the scholarship process is to gather as much information and knowledge as possible. Review the different types of scholarships available to you and then decide which scholarships are the best match for your specific needs. 

We're here to help you through this process! Stay tuned for more tips and information on our blog and please post comments so we make sure to cover all your questions. 


A Letter from Jamie Corder, CCC Executive Director [In Memory of Allan Goldberg]

On June 22, my old boss and friend Allan Goldberg passed away from complications due to cancer.

It has taken me three hours to write that sentence, and I still cannot come up with the right words to tell this story. I am sure that Allan would laugh if he saw me writing and rewriting this now, he always knew that the story you want never goes as planned, but the ending is always okay.

It was this unwavering faith in a good ending that defined Allan’s outlook on life.   He was the eternal optimist, the person who would never take “no” for an answer.  If told to find another way, he did. As he told me once, “Remember that obstacles that seem insurmountable now are often not.”  To his core, he was a survivor. It was that he was proud of most.

I spent countless hours with Allan, running First Descents for two years from a small office that had a concrete floor and a temperamental fax machine that teetered on an empty cardboard box. There wasn’t time to take a break, but he always insisted on us eating lunch, and in between paddles and stacks of applications, Allan and I would eat deli sandwiches, (he would sip on his sworn last diet coke), and we would talk about the future of First Descents.

We envisioned the day that First Descents would become a household name.  When that day came he said, we would have a microwave and real plates and forks, but then decided that would be a bad idea because someone would have to wash them. I made an advanced request for a secretary (for him).

But what truly excited Allan was the belief that one day, First Descents would be big enough to help every young adult cancer survivor that knocked at its doors.  “Eight camps in ’08,” he would say. In perfect Allan form, this summer First Descents is holding nine.

It was on June 22, the first day of these nine camps that Allan passed away. In these next nine weeks, First Descents will forever change the lives of the 150 young adult cancer survivors that come to its camps.

Congratulations AMG.  Another happy ending.



“Stepping Stones” back into a normal life

A continuation of my last post on the great article on the University of Texas in Austin website.  The article also talks about Dr. Barbara Jones, a cancer survivor and an assistant professor in the School of Social Work who is working on improving the path for childhood cancer survivors.

She spent years as a pediatric oncology social worker who provided counseling and help with communications and acted as an advocate for families. Now, she is a researcher who is working on improving the care of children with cancer and their families. She is researching how to get a better understanding of the long-term needs of childhood cancer survivors.

Dr. Jones’ research included African-American and Latino childhood cancer survivors and their definition of illness. Jones conducted a study of Latino young adult cancer survivors and found that their experience and definition of a cancer survivor is different from other ethnic groups.

She reported that they exhibit a strong theme of gratitude…gratitude for the support they received from family and/or care providers. In addition, they really don’t see themselves as survivors. They think the younger kids who received the cancer diagnosis very early on are the real survivors.

A lot has to be learned about the emotional effects of childhood cancer survivors. With good people like Dr. Jones, I know that we can improve psychosocial care for childhood cancer survivors.


a childhood cancer survivor story

Recently, I saw this article on the University of Texas in Austin website about Kristy Devine, a childhood cancer survivor. She talks about her feelings when she was diagnosed with cancer and how she is feeling today as a survivor. 

She was only 10-years-old when she learned she had a cancerous tumor growing in the tibia of her left leg. She “equated cancer with death,” but she survived. She experienced hours of surgery and months of chemotherapy, that resulted in hair loss, nausea, anxiety and anger. As an adolescent girl, she struggled mightily with her self-image.

Now as an adult, Kristy knows that she gained strength from the fact that she faced a difficult time in her life as a child. She talks about “stepping stones” to help her get back to a normal life. She now works for Cure Search, an organization helping children with cancer.

Every childhood cancer survivor has a special story to tell. We would love to hear about your story. Tell us how you are doing today. Share with our readers how surviving cancer has changed your emotional outlook on life.


A word to Mom and Dad

We’ve been blogging for a while to young adult cancer survivors, so I thought now would be a good time to have a few minutes with Mom and Dad.

So, please share this blog with them.

Mom and Dad, you, too, are survivors. Because of your love and encouragement, your child has survived cancer. Now is the time to do one more thing for them. Encourage them to go to college or even finish college. Your child’s future is depending on this.

Did you know that CCC (Carolyn’s Compassionate Children) has financial resources to award scholarships to childhood cancer survivors for undergraduate and graduate educations? We have awarded over 60 college scholarships over the past five years and will award more in the future. 

Click here to watch for the launch of our new website in August 2008. It will be loaded with resources to help you and your family. 

We know you want to help your child in every way. So give him or her one more opportunity. Because we know you are the most wonderful parents in the world!


College scholarship money available

Great news! Lehigh University just recently received $34.2 million bequest for scholarship.

What does this mean? This money was donated from the estate of alumnus and former university board member Donald B. Stabler. The scholarship already exists but the additional funding makes this the largest financial gift in Lehigh’s history. The scholarship fund will increase the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Endowed Scholarship Fund that was established in 1965.

Lehigh University is in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (check out their website here). Lehigh has four colleges - College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Economics, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and College of Education.

The university gives a total of 11 degrees at the undergraduate and advanced degree level. Undergraduates receive either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

So what does this mean for you? As a survivor of cancer, you now have another place that may provide money for college. 

CCC gives you the latest news and resources on scholarship money for colleges and universities. If you or someone you know and love learns about new scholarship money available for childhood cancer survivors, let us know. We’ll be sure to share the info!


behind the ccc team: a trip to sacramento

At CCC, we create detailed plans; however, we are quick to throw out those plans when we see an opportunity to create change. Change is our priority-- and we go the distance to make it happen!

Alex Oden describes a trip he took a couple weeks ago to Sacramento for Leanna Elizalde

It was a Friday afternoon and I was working on CCC's online community when I received an unexpected call from Jamie (CCC's exec director) asking about my plans for that afternoon and next day.  She apologetically asked me if there would be any way that I would be willing to fly out to Sacramento to present a scholarship to a girl named Leanna that night. I excitedly told her yes and frantically packed my things for the two hour drive to Phoenix to catch a flight that would be leaving just as I got there.  I arrived late that night in Sacramento and crashed as soon as my head hit he pillow; I had been awake for nearly 20 hours.

Early the next morning, I went to pick up the massive check and then to Leanna's high school in Woodland, CA.  The wind was so strong that getting out of the car with the huge mock check was nearly impossible.  

I took a seat in the stadium with Leanna’s family, who were incredibly gracious and warm.  When Leanna finally crossed the stage with her fellow classmates, half of the stadium erupted with applause.  After she had time to collect herself her brother brought her over where I presented here with her scholarship in front of three news stations (NONE OF WHICH SHOWED THE VIDEO IN THEIR BROADCAST!), she was in tears.  She and her family were so gracious for what CCC had done for her and I was even more thankful to have been a part of it all.  


Email Alex at: alex@cccscholarships.com


Simplify Tip 1: What to do about so many helping hands?

Receiving help is wonderful and needed; however, how do you balance + coordinate what you need help with and who will do what? Delegating becomes stressful! 

Here are two easy + free solutions for you. 

- This solution is provided by the Leukemia + Lymphoma Society

A Screen Shot:

From the Website:
"Lotsa Helping Hands is a simple, immediate way for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist loved ones in need. It's an easy-to-use, private calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during times of medical crisis, end-of-life caring, or family caregiver exhaustion. It's also a place to keep these 'circles of community' informed with status updates, photo galleries, message boards, and more."

Solution 2: The Aby Garvey Method
Aby Garvey, is an organizing + simplifying genius, who runs Simplify101 with her incredible husband, Jay. It's a wonderful site for anything related to simplifying life! 

I am a paper + pen person and Aby helped me to simplify my delegating process by creating a simple list that I can access at anytime (with or without a computer). 

Keep track of everything with four columns: 

column 1: the task (ex. drive to airport on Friday) 

column 2: who (ex. who is going to help you with this task-- who will drive you to the airport on Friday?) 

column 3: delegation date (ex. when did you ask person X to drive you to the airport OR when would you like to ask person X to drive you to the airport?)

column 4: due date/completion date (ex. the day that person X will be driving you to the airport so you can calendar in to follow up with that person a couple days before)

The great thing about Aby's solution is that it is completely flexible and customizable. Make the columns work for you :).

Both of these solutions centralize all the "little things" so they are not swimming around in your head -- making you constantly think who is going to do x,y,z? 

Has a particular solution worked for you? Share it with us!


Most Amazing PSA I Have EVER Seen... must watch

Taking the right steps to healthy survivorship

I want to share a great web site for survivors of childhood cancer. The website is called Beyond the Cure.

One of the topics, Cancer’s Impact, talks about feelings and emotions after your treatments. It says that you should expect to have a wide range of emotions from anxiety, confusion, anger, depression to happiness and excitement for your future. These feelings are normal and show you’re only human. You don't need to feel as if you need to mask these emotions. Admit to yourself that it's okay not to be perfect 24/7. Don't think you need to advertise that "cancer is cool." [More on this topic in a future blog!]

The Your Future section talks about employment and college. Beyond the Cure also gives out college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors.

The one section of the web site I really like is Take Charge. Their tips on healthy eating, exercising, safety and living are easy to implement and just make sense.

Being a cancer survivor means that you can live life to the fullest. All those dreams you have can now come true, just as long as you do something about them. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”

Never underestimate your strength; you are a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. 

And to close, I love this statement from the Advocacy section of the site:

Nationally recognized patient advocate and attorney Grace Monaco tells survivors: "Come out from the shadows, put the past in perspective, seize the future. Do not merely survive, but LIVE to the fullest." (Monaco, 2003)

Care. Commit. Change.
Carolyn Rubenstein


All Leanna Elizalde wanted was to walk with her classmates and now she walks with the support of an entire nation behind her.

When I first heard about Leanna Elizalde's story, I knew I had to act. Here is this young bright girl who persevered through radiation and surgeries and stayed committed to her classes and studies with the hope of graduating with her class today. Just shy of one class of completing her senior year, Leanna found out she would not be able to walk across the stage and hear her name announced with the class of 2008. 

As the nation caught wind of Leanna's story, an unofficial movement started to form behind her. Young adult cancer survivors, survivorship groups, doctors, nurses, teachers, parents, and friends of the family would not step down until Leanna was allowed to walk with her class. When I heard of this story, I too was enraged. Leanna embodies the strength, leadership and commitment to education that inspires other young adults to keep fighting. 

As the founder and president of CCC, I am honored to announce that Leanna Elizalde is our 2008 Survivorship Award Recipient. 

As Leanna's name is called from the podium and she steps onto the stage in her cap and gown, she takes a huge step for all young adult cancer survivors. 

Today marks the beginning of a bright future for Leanna and all young adult cancer survivors. 

Congratulations to the class of 2008!!

Carolyn Rubenstein
Founder and President
Carolyn's Compassionate Children (CCC)


When Thumbs Up Is No Comfort -- a NY Times Article

As public figures are stricken with harrowing illness, the images of them as upbeat have almost become routine, and whether such images inspire patients or reinforce unrealistic expectations remains an open question. 

This article opens discussion regarding public image and personal reality. When going through a traumatic situation, people often mask their emotions as to not worry others. Children do this as well. Children diagnosed with cancer often feel bad for the impact of their illness on others. 
But is "thumbs up" by a public figure sending a message of hope to similar patients or guilt? Guilt for not putting on a happy face after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and expressing their true emotions. 

Excerpts from Article: 

“Whether you’re a celebrity or an ordinary person, it’s obligatory, no matter how badly you’re feeling about it, to display optimism publicly,” said Dr. Barron H. Lerner, the author of “When Illness Goes Public.” That optimism reassures anxious relatives, the public and doctors, regardless of whether it accurately reflects the patient’s emotional state. “If Ted Kennedy wanted to stick up his middle finger,” Dr. Lerner added, “that would be the more appropriate finger, but he’s doing what he is supposed to.”


The gift that keeps on giving

Just the other day I was watching the news and all of the coverage of the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.

I was amazed at how much money Barack Obama has received (and is still receiving) in contributions for his candidacy. He has raised more money from contributions on his website compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain.

This got me thinking: Can’t the grassroots campaign approach be applied to CCC as well?

Here’s my idea: click here and just donate $10.00. Then e-mail or call 10 of your friends and ask them to do the same. Then ask them to call 10 more of their friends and so and so on.

Ten dollars isn’t a lot of money. That’s the cost of a couple of lattes during the week or even one eat-out lunch. So skip the latte or lunch just one time this month, donate $10 to the CCC scholarship fund, and tell your friends.

You’ll be giving cancer survivors an opportunity to go to college and boy will it make you feel good. Your donation is tax deductible and the feeling you’ll get for doing something good for someone else is worth a million. 

Let’s see if we can get more donations to the CCC scholarship fund than Barack Obama received for his candidacy (or at least close!).