Request My Free Bankruptcy E-Book arrow

Spring 2023 The Blossom Law Caregiver Scholarship Winner

Katelyn Wadel

Katelyn Wadel is a hard working high school senior with ambitious academic and career goals. After Katelyn graduates from high school this spring, she hopes to pursue an education in nursing at Florida Southern College. Read Katelyn’s essay for our Caregiver Scholarship below.

Katelyn Wadel

Read Katelyn's Essay:

Life experiences have a way of causing you to look differently at life and can play a tremendous role in helping to shape your future. When I was seven years old, my dad was diagnosed with a cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This diagnosis started a more than four-year journey for our family. My dad was in and out of Moffitt Cancer Center during those years, going through many surgeries, several rounds of chemo and radiation, and two stem cell transplants--one using his own stem cells, and when that didn’t work, another using cells from a donor. He also underwent an (at the time) newer treatment option involving immunotherapy, which ultimately was the thing that saved his life.

Throughout this journey, my mom was the caregiver for my dad. He was so sick, and was unable to do many of the things he was once able to do for himself. My mom took on this role without hesitation. My dad was unable to work throughout much of his treatment. When he had the stem cell transplants, his entire immune system was killed off prior to receiving the donor cells…and this made him extremely vulnerable to infection. My mom took leave from work because my dad needed full time care. For over a month while he was hospitalized, she was at the hospital every single day, learning how to care for him by watching the nurses, asking questions, advocating for him, and participating in his care. For three months after transplant, my dad had to live within 10 minutes of the hospital; my mom arranged for my grandparents to be there for us during the daytime, and then spent her days with him, preparing and often feeding him his meals, driving him to appointments, helping him with his daily basic needs. She managed his medications, monitored his temperatures, made sure to keep him moving and exercising a little every day, and was his biggest supporter. She found night nurses to help throughout the night so that she could still come home and be with us and put us to bed every night, and to give my grandparents a break from us. She made sure she was there when we woke up and was there every night when we went to bed. She had to have been exhausted, but she was always positive and hopeful, and was his biggest cheerleader, especially when he was feeling down and helpless. Somehow, she always put on a happy face and had an encouraging spirit. Though I was little, it wasn’t lost on me how much my mom was doing to care for all of us.

As a young adult I am able to comprehend much more about how much my mom did and how much my dad struggled during this life-changing experience. From this experience, I know and understand just how important it is for patients to feel cared for and more importantly, to feel heard. I know how important it is to advocate for patients. This has inspired me so much that it has helped me to decide that I want to be a nurse. I want to be able to provide that same level of care for patients and their families that my mom gave my dad. Being a nurse is not going to be an easy job; but it is meaningful, rewarding, and important work, and I want to know that what I do positively affects and impacts people who are at their most vulnerable.

Back to Top