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Crohn's Ignited Chelsea's Creative Spark

by Jessica December 7 2017 08:47
meet chelsea 180 medical scholarship 2017

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of this year's recipients are so inspiring, and we're excited to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

Previously, we've introduced you to Megha and Frank, two of our seven recipients. Today, meet Chelsea! 

chelsea fisk quote 180 medical scholarship recipient

Crohn's Disease Changed Everything

Crohn's disease, a form of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), is currently considered incurable, and it can often be so severe that it drastically reduces the quality of life for those afflicted. You can learn more about Crohn's disease and its symptoms with our recent blog post about Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week.

Before Chelsea started to get sick, her goal was to be a surgeon who would work on patients with cancer and other disorders. In fact, as she first started out in college, she chose to continue to work toward that goal. Soon, however, she realized that her illness was so severe that she would likely not be able to keep up with such a demanding career. "Coming to terms with losing that dream was incredibly difficult for me," Chelsea says.

There would be more challenges before she would see the light ahead. During finals in her sophomore year of college, she had a major relapse with Crohn's disease, and the situation became so severe that she and her doctors came to the conclusion that medication was not going to be enough of a treatment plan for her. So Chelsea underwent a procedure to remove her colon and have an ileostomy created. 

A Turning Point After Ostomy Surgery

As Chelsea recovered and adapted to the new changes, she spent time thinking about what else she could do in the future. During that time, she went back to her childhood hobbies of reading, drawing, painting, and creating other types of art. 

"I began to realize that I should be pursuing the things I had loved as a child, what I had wanted to do before I even knew what biochemistry was," Chelsea says. With that in mind, Chelsea returned to school, enrolled in new coursework, and changed her major to graphic design. 


chelsea art school

Using Art to Increase Representation of the Disabled

As she continued to adjust to life with an ostomy, Chelsea found that there wasn't much information out there about ostomies specifically targeted to children, teens, and young adults. 

"I've experienced firsthand how the lack of representation for disabled kids and teens can negatively affect one's life," Chelsea says. "In an aim to fill this representational void, I create art and media (animation and comics, but mostly illustrated children's books) to help them make sense of their situation. I also use characters with traits and personalities that extend beyond their disabilities."

Chelsea wants those living with disabilities and chronic illnesses to know that they don't have to be defined solely by their condition, and she hopes that her work will help increase representation with them as well as other underrepresented communities of people.

Upon hearing that she was a recipient of this year's 180 Medical College Scholarship, Chelsea honored us with an absolutely beautiful drawing of a bird called a swift, surrounded by laurels with the following message:

"Swifts are notoriously strong and fast birds, small and often underestimated but very powerful. It, along with the laurel, represents the strength and power of my fellow scholarship recipients and all disabled youth. Our strength may be underestimated at times, but we will always persevere despite our hardships and come out on top, wearing laurels of our own."


chelsea fisk art swift and laurels

Truly, we feel so humbled to receive such an inspiring and lovely gift along with such an incredible message. Chelsea, we're sure you're going to go far in life, and we can't wait to see how your art positively impacts the world!

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know there are often additional financial burdens on aspiring students who live with medical conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), transverse myelitis, and neurogenic bladder. That's why 180 Medical created our scholarship program, and we're honored to offer this annually.

Find out more details at our Scholarship page, and watch for coming announcements about the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship soon.

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.

 

Spina Bifida Won't Stop Frank's Goals to Become a Phys Ed Teacher

by Jessica November 3 2017 13:53


Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. Our scholarship program was first established by 180 Medical's founder, Todd Brown, and since that time five years ago, we have worked hard to maintain his vision by being diligent and careful as we read through all the many inspiring essays and applications sent in each year. It's never easy to narrow it down to just seven finalists, but we're positive this year's scholarship awards are awarded to some amazing students who are ready to make their mark on the world.

Last month, we introduced the first of our 2017 recipients, Megha. This week, meet Frank! 

frank damiani spina bifida career goals quote

Growing Up With Spina Bifida

Frank has had a lot of battles to fight since the day he was born with Spina Bifida. From the moment he arrived in the world, he needed immediate surgery on the sac on his back and the exposed muscles and nerves of his spine, but Frank says his mother has been there for him every step of the way as a big motivator.

"My mom worked hard to help my disability become a way of life and not a big deal." She was even the reason he originally got involved in his true passion: Shotokan Karate back in 2007.

Finding a Passion for Martial Arts

The karate instructor speaks incredibly highly of Frank in regards to his extraordinary character and his "overwhelming desire to learn and expand his knowledge by participating in any extracurricular events, such as clinics or tournaments that may aid in his growth as both an individual and a Martial Artist."

Every day, whether at school or practicing karate, he shows a passion and spirit that not many can match, and because of his dedication to his practice, Frank is now a black belt and still practices this form of martial arts at least four times a week. He says that it is a huge part of why he felt he was able to grow stronger and become self-disciplined. 

One of his favorite things to do is volunteer to mentor younger students where he practices karate. His extraordinary kindness, willingness to listen, and patience what really stand out about Frank to the children he teaches who may have special needs or disabilities. According to his karate instructor, "Frank is loved and respected by all of the students and parents with whom he comes into contact, likely because he gives all of himself to assisting his classmates and has a true passion for whatever goals he pursues." 

frank karate spina bifidaNeedless to say, we here at 180 Medical are truly impressed by Frank's dedication. He's a student that represents so many aspects of the characteristics our company aspires to achieve every day in what we do through his compassion, integrity, and his willingness to serve others. 

Turning a Passion into a Career

In fact, that is a big part of Frank's ultimate career goal, which he is working toward now at Kingsborough Community College. He is working toward becoming a Physical Education teacher for the Department of Education, and he wants to work with children with Spina Bifida, spinal cord injuries, and other physical challenges that keep them from being able to attend regular gym class in school. 

Frank says, "I love being a role model to younger students. It makes me feel good, and I believe teaching will give me the same satisfaction."

Frank, everyone at 180 Medical is rooting for you to keep moving forward toward achieving your goals. We know that thanks to your dedication and kindness, you will surely positively affect other children by showing them that sports and physical activities don't have to be off limits just because of a disability or a physical challenge. Good luck in your first semester of school! 

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

We hope you enjoy reading a little bit about each of this year's scholarship recipients throughout the coming months as we feature them on our blog and our social media accounts. Feel free to check out past year's recipients on our blog. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on this and many more fun company events, educational topics, awareness, careers at 180 Medical, and more! 

180 Medical is honored to be able to offer a scholarship program each year to help students living with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), and/or a neurogenic bladder. College costs are a lot to manage on their own, but we know there are often extra financial burdens on aspiring students who live with these medical conditions, so that's why 180 Medical created this program.

Find out more details at our Scholarship page, and watch for coming announcements about the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship later this year.

2018 college scholarship sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.

 

Megha's Experience with Spina Bifida Influences Her Future Goals

by Jessica October 11 2017 05:50
meet megha 2017 180 medical scholarship recipient

On August 1st, we officially announced the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. Since 2012, when our scholarship program was first established by our founder, Todd Brown, we have been diligent in taking care and time to read through all of the amazing essays sent in by our applicants. As always, it was difficult for our Scholarship Committee to narrow it down to just seven people in the end, as there are so many inspiring students ready to make their impact on the world, but we are so proud to be able to offer this well-deserved scholarship award to the finalists.

Today, meet Megha, the first of our 2017 recipients to be featured on our blog!

megha kalyan spina bifida scholarship

Megha was born with Spina Bifida, which is one of the most common neural tube defects at birth. According to the CDC, about 1,500 babies are born each year with spina bifida. Spina Bifida doesn't present exactly the same conditions in every single person, depending upon the severity. In Megha's case, she was undiagnosed for nearly a year and a half before her parents found out that she had Spina Bifida. Because of their great love for their daughter, they left everything they had ever known in India after her diagnosis and immigrated to the United States to get the best medical care for Megha.
megha spina bifida
Despite having a condition that requires her to use crutches and ankle-foot orthotics, Megha says that her parents kept their expectations high for her in every aspect. Through their guidance and her experiences at school, she came to a realization that "the only obstacles that really mattered were the obstacles I created in my mind." Even with 3 major surgeries that kept her out of school for months each time, she never let it hold her back from her biggest goal: working toward a career in medicine. 

A huge influence on Megha's life and her decision to pursue a career as a doctor was her Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon. "I was always amazed how he had the ability to give children a much better quality of life," Megha says. That combined with his clear dedication to perfection in surgery as well as the way he treated her really contributed to narrowing down her career choice.

As she works toward that goal, majoring in Biology with focus on pre-med, she keeps a set of clear goals for herself to meet before finally graduating and moving on to medical school. She also wants to join the Peace Corps, because she has a dream to help other young children living with disabilities in other countries.

megha graduates 2017 spina bifida scholarshipMegha's drive to succeed is truly impressive, but we're especially moved by her dedication to use her career and her experiences to help and heal others.

Good luck in your first semester of school at the University of Virginia, Megha! We're excited to see how you will positively impact the world in the future!

We hope you enjoy reading a little bit about each of this year's scholarship recipients throughout the coming months as we feature them on our blog and our social media accounts. Feel free to check out past year's recipients on our blog. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on this and many more fun company events, educational topics, awareness, careers at 180 Medical, and more! 

180 Medical is honored to be able to offer a scholarship program each year to help students living with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), and/or a neurogenic bladder. College costs are a lot to manage on their own, but we know there are often extra financial burdens on aspiring students who live with these medical conditions, so that's why 180 Medical created this program. Find out more details at our Scholarship page, and watch for coming announcements about the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship later this year.

Did you know that October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month?

spina bifida awareness month

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.