We believe each dream deserves a chance

Mikayla's Story

In 2015, we had the honor of meeting a truly exceptional young woman.  Mikayla was not only an outstanding student but, even more importantly, a truly compassionate, caring person.  Through our interview with her and from her personal statement, we had the opportunity to learn about the experiences that had made her such a special person and now we’d like to share that with you.  We’re sure, after reading her story, you’ll agree. 

The summer before my sixth grade year, I received news that would change my life and my family’s lives forever: my Dad had cancer. See, when he was eighteen years old, he enlisted in the Army. He worked with nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare and structured classes. From the substances my Dad worked around, he developed a terrible liver disease that later turned into cancer. My middle school years consisted of spending what time I could with him and learning the basics of nursing to help care for him. The summer before my freshman year in high school, I spent over a week with my Dad in the hospital, sleeping on the floor beside his bed and never leaving his side. Later that summer, he was flown to NY Presbyterian Hospital to continue treatments. He ended up being able to come home, but little did we know that the next time he returned to NYC for a check-up would be the last time we got to see him. September 27, 2011, I flew back to New York to spend my Dad’s last few minutes with him and my family. He passed shortly before 4 pm that afternoon. My father was nothing short of amazing and always did what he could to serve our country, and especially, his family. He was only thirty-one years old at the time he passed and the most loving, kind-hearted, compassionate, and charismatic man anyone could ever meet.

My Dad being sick for three years exposed me to the field of nursing and all the blessings it has to offer. I learned to navigate the hospital halls and would always talk to the patients on the same floor with him that did not have family. I also remember when he would be home and Mom would have to give him antibiotics and saline through the IV port over his heart. I learned how to properly disinfect the syringes and connect them to the port. Because of this, and being exposed to all I have, I have decided that I want to pursue a nursing career. I have a love in my heart and passion for kids. I am going to be attending East Tennessee State University in the fall. I will be studying to receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and then go on to graduate school to earn a Doctorate degree in Pediatric Nursing.

From the hard times I personally experienced, I was able to keep a focus on all that my Dad, my hero, taught me before he passed away. Stay true to yourself; stay true to your faith; work hard to accomplish your dreams; and, help others along the way. These are the four important values I live by and keep at the center of my life. No matter what happens, no matter what trials I face, I know I will find the strength to carry on and accomplish all of my life’s dreams.