MILWAUKEE — Three inspiring young adults from Wisconsin who have beaten or are battling childhood cancer were chosen as recipients of the 2021 Childhood Cancer Survivor Scholarship from Northwestern Mutual.
The recipients are Maggie Conlon, Samuel Kuchta, and Hollyn Peterson. Each person will receive a $5,000 scholarship that is renewable for a total of $10,000. These three Wisconsin winners were chosen for their inspiring stories and academic excellence.
The money is intended help each recipients family with anything from tuition to medical payments. According to the press release, The Coalition Against Childhood Cancer said it costs about $833,000 to battle childhood cancer which includes the cost of medical treatment, transportation, and lost wages.
Maggie Conlon was born with a golf ball sized tumor under her tongue. She was then diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma.
“From the second I was born, cancer has impacted my life,” said Maggie Conlon. “Although my diagnosis negatively impacted my health, I have found ways to flip the script and have a positive outlook on life.”
Samuel Kutcha was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic began. The isolation and medical treatment took a toll on his physical and mental health. He credits his support system, friends, and family with being able keep a positive attitude.
“As a nearly twenty-year-old man in relatively good shape, cancer sat at the bottom of the list of things that I worried about,” said Samuel Kuchta. “With the help and support of my friends and family, I faced my three-month-long treatment plan with a brave face.”
Hollyn Peterson was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5. She battled cancer three times, went through 12 surgeries, and even lost friends due to cancer. At one point, doctors even said they didn't have a plan or way to beat her cancer. However, Peterson persevered and has survived.
“My wish is to help make lives better and share my story of hope,” said Hollyn Peterson. “I battled cancer three times and saw many friends die from cancer. I face late effects that my peers cannot imagine. Yet, I do not take one day for granted.”
Across the country, 50 children were chosen as recipients. Northwestern Mutual has given away more than $400 million since 1992 to cure childhood cancer, support Milwaukee efforts such as improving neighborhoods and education in the city.