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Patient Advocate Foundation
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Home > Get Help > Apply for an Academic Scholarships > 2017-2018 Scholarship Winners

2017-2018 Scholarship Winners


We are pleased to announce the recipients of
our patient scholarships:

New Awards



Alejandro Claure De La Zerda

University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Course of Study: Chemistry and

My goals for my academic career are to obtain a Biochemistry degree successfully. With a Biochemistry degree, I want to help the pediatric oncology field by researching better chemotherapy treatments. I also aim to be highly involved in extracurricular activities related to medicine, as well as obtain community service hours and clinical experience to build a strong resume for medical school. The reason I will apply to medical school is that during my cancer treatment my doctor's inspired me with their professional care to follow their footsteps to help children with cancer as a pediatric oncologist and chemotherapy researcher.

The Patient Advocate Foundation scholarship will help me immensely as it will help me fund my education by helping me pay for the incredibly high costs to attend college. It will also take off the burden from my parents' shoulder since they will have to pay for college for my younger brother in the upcoming years and so now, thanks to the scholarship they will not have to worry about paying for my college as much. Also, not only will the generous scholarship help me with my tuition costs, but also for my books and other school materials I wouldn't be able to afford due to the financial burden my family went through during my cancer treatment

I will be studying Biochemistry at my Notre Dame's College of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I chose this field of study because I aim to help the pediatric oncology field by researching better chemotherapy treatments and because it has various courses in common with the pre-medical track, which will allow me to reach my aspiration of applying to medical school to become a pediatric oncologist and pay forward the selfless professional care I received from my doctors during my battle with cancer.


Sarah Hoang

Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Course of Study: Pediatric
Oncology Nurse

I am beyond grateful to have been selected as one of the receipts of the PAF scholarship. I am currently attending a private nursing school, and this comes with a big financial burden. My dream is to help others afflicted with the hardship of cancer. This scholarship will help me lessen my student loans and allow me to be one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Pediatric Oncology Nurse. I am so honored and so appreciative of this generous gift.

Kevin Moran

George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

Course of Study: Applied
Computer Science

Through this scholarship, I have been given a chance to attend my college of choice. While attending, I plan on going into Applied Computer Science where I hope to learn software engineering and programming. My goal is to be able to create a game or program that will help kids not feel isolated while going through cancer treatment. I also plan to continue volunteering for cancer related and other charitable organizations. Thank you, Patient Advocate Foundation for this generous award.

Jam Ransom-Marks

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

Course of Study: Biological


Saving lives is one of the most important jobs anyone could have to honor of performing every day. As a three-time cancer survivor, I know more than most, how special it feels to be given three chances at life. After spending weeks, months, and at times years, feeling like I would never make it out of the hospital it was the most amazing and indescribable feeling to finally do so. I want to be able to share that feeling of triumph with future patients. In order to reach my goal, I have made a promise to myself to put every ounce of my effort and energy into my studies and spread cancer awareness. I want to help heal patients, help them find themselves through their illness and help them realize that the diagnosis does not define them. And personally, I want to find a healthy balance of productivity and success while also leaving room for fun and life that I have missed along the way.

Attending Northwestern University is an honor and privilege. My parents have spent most of my life paying for my health care, but after efforts to keep me alive for more than a decade, the additional struggle of having to pay for college is yet another financial undertaking. After years of dodging obstacles and clearing hurdles, the Patient Advocate Foundation has assisted me in receiving an education and returning to life before cancer. This scholarship brings me closer to having the life I am meant to live and the future hope of improving the lives of kids and teens just like me.

At Northwestern University I plan to major in Biological Sciences. I hope to attend Medical School at Northwestern as well and eventually become a pediatric Oncologist/Hematologist. I recognize the impact of the team that helped keep me alive, and I cannot think of another career better suited for me. Hospitals are what I know, and how I can best serve my community.


Shelby Wade

Wheeling Jesuit University
Wheeling, WV

Course of Study: Bachelor of
Science in Nursing (BSN)


Throughout my academic career, I have strived to maintain a 3.8 GPA while participating in various clubs and volunteering. I have been elected to serve my peers and our community as the President of the Student Nurses Association club for the 2017-2018 academic years. After graduation in May, I plan to further my education with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner specializing in the woman’s health fields.

Due to my diagnosis and course of treatment, I was behind a semester in one course of study. Since I will have to take an additional 9th semester of classes to complete my degree, I will not be eligible for all of my institutional and federal aid in this semester. The Patient Advocate Foundation has generously provided me with a scholarship to help offset this loss of aid so I can finish my bachelors of science in nursing degree. My family and I are so grateful!

Returning Students* :
Sage Chasen
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Course of Study: Civil Engineering
(Second Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Isabel Allen
Boston University, Boston, MA
Course of Study: Middle Eastern Studies
(Second Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Tiffany Hollihan
Ball State University
Muncie, IN
Course of Study: Journalism
(Second Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Sierra Williams
University of Georgia
Athens, GA
Course of Study: Production and Animation
(Second Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Alexa Hickman
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Course of Study: Pediatric Nursing/Oncology
(Third Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Kaela Johnson
VA Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Course of Study: Pediatric Medicine
(Fourth Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
Alexandra Xifaras
Suffolk University: Boston, MA
Course of Study: Psychology
(Fourth Year Scholarship Award Recipient)
*Additional bio information available upon request.