2022 Winner of the Enduring Minds The Foundation 3rd Annual Scholarship
For most middle school girls, all that is on their mind is wondering which skinny jeans to
wear the next day, how to tell their crush that they like them without going in a mile radius of the
guy, and making sure that whatever they do, they do not get classified as the “weird kid”. As a
seventh-grade girl with IIH and POTS, however, the odds were not in my favor. One of the
toughest times during my illness was not having the strength to get out of bed and having to
finish my seventh-grade year homebound; however, the weakness that I experienced during that
time has made me a stronger individual today.
The loneliness and isolation that I felt in seventh grade created an independence in me
that will follow me into my future studies and careers. Although finishing the last two weeks of
seventh grade at home probably seemed like fun to my classmates, all I felt was depression,
weakness, and alienation from the rest of my peers. At this time in my life, I had both IIH and
POTS; the latter caused severe fatigue to the point where I physically could not get out of bed in
the mornings. My mom was a teacher, and she had to take off two weeks of work to take care of
me. I had relentless suicidal thoughts because I saw no hope in the pitiful life I had. I felt like a
burden to my family because I did not have the energy or happiness to be the girl I was before
IIH and POTS. Few of my friends reached out to me during this time and it seemed like nobody
understood the agony I was enduring. Despite these adversities, however, I learned how to be
strong in the face of depression. I know that as I enter college and then the working world, I will
be able to step out of my comfort zone and accomplish the goals I set for myself.
I am so proud to say that I did not let the suicidal thoughts and depression win. If
someone had told me five years ago that I would later become the varsity soccer co-captain, or
be alive, even, I would have laughed in their face. The lessons of grit and endurance I have
gained from IIH will prove to be extremely valuable as I go to college. I will be able to relate to
those struggling with depression and encourage them to push forward. Because of my health
conditions, I want to have a career in the health field and be an advocate for those who feel
powerless in their illnesses.
2021 Winner of the Enduring Minds The Foundation 2nd Annual Scholarship
In January of 2011, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension in the midst of my junior year of high school. I had been an honors student, and was involved in school clubs, such as National Honors Society, California Scholarship Federation, Mu Alpha Theta, and Spanish club. I had played on competitive sports teams up until the time I began having headaches due to my IIH. Before becoming unwell, I had aspired to go into the medical profession. I had always admired those who wanted to devote their life to serving others. The summer before my junior year, I attended a Medial Forms at UC Berkley, and knew through this experience that medicine was the right path for me. The second half of my junior year, and all my senior year, had been spent seeing doctors and eventually having five shunt surgeries. A few months before graduating high school, I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation Type 1. Upon graduating high school, with honors, I underwent decompression surgery. Due to continued pain from surgery, I took a gap year before starting college. Within my gap year, I wanted to be of service to others and began volunteering at my local hospital. This severed as a reminder that even though I was not well enough to begin college just yet, it reaffirmed my desire to become a nurse.
In 2014, I moved away from home to start college. During the first two years of college, attending part time, I had to undergo several more shunt revisions and replacements. In late 2014, I underwent a shunt surgery that had major complications. Upon waking from my surgery, the shunt tubing had migrated, and I immediately needed a revision. The migration caused eye damage, resulted in my being temporarily blind for a year. Ten days after this surgery, I developed meningitis from my shunt becoming infected. My surgeon had decided to leave my shunt in place and treat with antibiotics. After several months, my shunt had become re-infected, and I had developed appendicitis due to an abdominal infection caused by my VP shunt. A year after my infected shunt was removed, and new shunt had been placed, I finally started to see improvements in my vision. I decided to go back to school, part-time, in the fall of 2015, beginning my first courses to my pre-nursing major. My new shunt had failed again in late spring of 2016 and I struggled to back to school due to continued issues with managing my IIH. In spring of 2017, I had acquired an extensive syringomyelia due to ongoing complications with Chiari and I began having grand-mal seizures. I underwent another shunt removal and replacement to try and resolve the Cerebral Spinal Fluid that had become trapped in my spinal cord, causing weakness and severe pain. During the past ten years of undergoing 30 shunt revisions and replacements, and attending school part-time, I have grown to appreciate my strength to endure, to overcome, and to advocate for myself. Through being my own self-advocate, I hope to advocate for others and provide them with resources to best advocate for themselves. Though the many scary moments I have faced as a patient, the blessings of knowing firsthand how challenging, physically, and mentally, it can be to endure through hardships has made it easy to stick with my dreams of becoming a nurse. The inspiration of my two elder siblings who have also faced health challenges has also contributed to helping me preserve. My elder sister, who passed away several years ago, has never left my thoughts and I hope to live out my dreams even though she could not. She brings me strength through moments when I feel I cannot push on, or when I think my struggles are too overwhelming. I lean on my remembrance of her and how she would want to see me succeed with my endeavors. She taught me that kindness and hardships help shape us, and that we can use our experiences to fuel our compassion for others, and towards who we want to be in the world.
I am currently enrolled, this semester, as a full-time student. My goal is to finish up my general education requirements to transfer to a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program in the Spring of 2023. I am set to graduate next spring, Spring of 2022, with my associates in both general science and in psychology. The funding I would receive from this scholarship will help me to pay for my textbooks, and towards my tuition fees next semester. My goal after graduating from nursing school is to become a neuro nurse. While my education is vital to ensuring patient safety, much of what I have learned from personal experience cannot be simply taught. It brings a new level of empathy and compassion and when you have had experience being on the other side of a situation (being the patient rather than only as a nurse).
2020 Winner of the Enduring Minds First Annual Scholarship
Hello ladies and gents,
My name is Teresa Murphy. I go by Smurf. I am a current NC paramedic for Alamace County EMS and a full time student. I have a degree in web technologies that I earned in 2015, but I quickly learned it wasn’t my career choice. I was diagnosed in 2016 with idiopathic intracranial hypertension. I have been a high GPA student ever since I started college in 2010. Up until my diagnosis I suffered daily from migraines. Doctor after doctor didn’t listen to me and told me it was growing pains. Well finally after a 43 day migraine that doctors or myself couldn’t break, I was finally referred to WFBH neurology. I walked in for my appointment and was diagnosed on the spot. Of course I was sent for a spinal tap, but I was diagnosed even before I walked out of the office. I thought there was finally hope. I was put on the meds for this condition and quickly learned I was allergic to them. I was back to square one as my neurologist didn’t do surgery and hardly sent people to that step.
In the mean time, while suffering with migraines, I continued to go back to school. I pursued my NC EMT, then my NC Paramedic. I graduated with my NC Paramedic Oct 16th, 2018 and had my first brain surgery 2 days later. I had stents placed. All the while, I was still enrolled working towards my associates degree in EMS. May 9th, 2019 I had my VP shunt placed. May 17th, 2019 I walked at graduation and received my Associates in applied science in EMS. I am still in school working towards my associates in Emergency and disaster management and fire protection technology. I pay for school out of pocket thanks to the limit to how much financial aid you can get.
My motivation comes from within. I could have let idiopathic intracranial hypertension take me out of the game, but I didn’t. There are days that all I do is sleep after my shift in EMS. There are days that I don’t have the motivation to work on school work, but I do what I can. I do have accommodations in the classroom because of this condition and I have some great teachers where I go to school. I am currently enrolled at Rowan Cabarrus community college. Last semester I had a set back as I had medical issues pop up outside of IIH. But I am pushing towards graduating in December. I was supposed to graduate in may, but with all the stuff going on in the world, that’s not going to happen.
Up until last year when I found the support groups on facebook, I was all alone when it came to this disease. Through these groups I have found some great people. I don’t have family support. It’s all on me to get myself up and push myself to achieve what I have achieved. I am currently a 3.5gpa student.
Enduring Minds The Foundation Scholarship!!
1.Have an official diagnosis of Intracranial Hypertension or Chiari Malformation
2.Have had surgery related to that illness
3. Have a financial need for funds
4.Fill out questions and turn in essay
5.Attend a College/University/Training Program
6.Have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
1.What was your experience enduring this illness and going to school?
2.Tell us the most important lesson you’ve learned since diagnosis?
3.What was your motivation to keep going in school?
4.Explain your dreams once you graduate?
5.Tell us about someone who has inspired and helped you through your time in school?
6.Write a one page essay,250 words or more about one of the hardest times you’ve had with this illness and what you learned from it? Explain how you’ll use what you learned in your studies and your career?
Please include a cover page with the questions including your name, address, contact information, school you’re attending, and a paragraph on why you applied for this scholarship. The Scholarship questions cover page and essay are due no later than March 16th ,2022. The winner will be notified April 4th, 2022 where they will receive their $250 to use as they see fit for books, tuition, or supplies! Send all inquires and applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions please call us at 614-599-2781. At Enduring Minds we believe we can endure anything together and we’re always eager to help!