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Mesothelioma Help is pleased to announce the “Jan Egerton and Don Smitley Mesothelioma Scholarship.” We are proud to offer 4 scholarships in the names of these two mesothelioma warriors.
Jan Egerton battled mesothelioma for over 10 years and during that time she dedicated her life to raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos and to championing the researchers to continue to focus on finding a cure and new treatments for the cancer. Jan’s husband said, “I know Jan would be delighted to have this accolade, and I would be honoured for you to use Jan’s name. This is a legacy of which she would be proud.” Jan was one of last year’s judges.
Don Smitley spent his days enjoying time with his family, his dog, Charley, and playing in his bluegrass band, The Dunbar Boys. No one ever heard Don complain or wonder, “Why me?” while he fought mesothelioma. But everyone that knew him would say that faith and a positive attitude carried him through each day. Don’s daughter, Jennifer Gelsick, chronicled her family’s journey during mesothelioma, and now discusses life after losing a loved one to mesothelioma through her blog. “We are so honored to have Dad’s name on the scholarship. It’s such a perfect way to remember and honor him,” said Jennifer. Jennifer will be one of the essay judges this year.
The scholarship is available to students in colleges and universities throughout the United States. Our goal is to help the educational efforts of students while raising awareness of mesothelioma, provide information about its prognosis and the dangers of being exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a disease that affects men and women – both young and old.
The four scholarship amounts are as follows, and will be distributed after the winners have been notified:
- $2,500 – First Prize
- $1,250 – Second Prize
- $750 – Third Prize
- $500 – Fourth Prize
Important Dates and Deadlines
- Essay submissions open: Mar. 7, 2017
- Essay submissions close: Mar. 25, 2017
- Essay judging complete: Apr. 18, 2017
- Top 4 finalists notified: Apr. 21, 2017
- Public voting period opens: Apr. 24, 2017
- Public voting period closes: May 11, 2017
- Winners contacted by: May 15, 2017
- Winners announced: May 16, 2017
Type of Scholarship
Each winner of this essay contest will be awarded a check from the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP. These funds must be used to pay for college tuition ONLY.
One (1) essay per student is allowed.
This essay contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are 18-years-old or older and are currently enrolled in a college or university located within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. U.S. territories are excluded.
Previous first place winners are not eligible for participation.
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer diagnosed in close to 3,000 Americans each year. The only established cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Most victims were unwittingly exposed to asbestos at work or while serving in the military. Still others developed mesothelioma through exposure from family members coming home from work with their clothes covered in asbestos fibers.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the annual number of mesothelioma deaths is increasing. According to experts, over 20 million people in the United States are at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.
We believe it is important to get the facts out about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, and especially, to help educate young Americans. Please address some or all of the following questions in your essay:
- Share your personal story dealing with asbestos disease or cancer. Talk about how it affected your life and how/whether it impacted your education/career choice.
- What do you hope to do with the education you are receiving to help cancer patients?
- Why is raising awareness and educating the public about the dangers of asbestos and the impact of mesothelioma on a family important?
- What would you say to someone who is fighting mesothelioma or to a family member who recently lost a loved one to the disease?
The essay must be no fewer than 750 and no more than 1,500 words long.
- Essays will be judged by Jennifer Gelsick, former caregiver for her father, Don Smitley, who passed away from mesothelioma in October 2013, and Lisa Hyde-Barrett, a thoracic surgery nurse.
- Submissions will be judged on content, correctness of facts, grammar, style, and originality.
- Judges will look for clear, original essays that are logically organized and well-supported.
Due to the popularity of social media and the ability to reach a wide number of people to educate them about mesothelioma, this year’s contest will include a public voting aspect. The judges will select the top 4 essays through the criteria listed above. The top four finalists will then have an opportunity to use social media to help determine their final placement.
A page will be created on MesotheliomaHelp.org for the essays. A link to the essays will be provided to the finalists when they are notified of their placement.
The top four winners will be notified on the dates found on the sidebar on the right and will have three weeks to garner votes for their essays and to request citations (links) from other academic sources. Finalists should encourage their friends and families to read their essays through sharing on Facebook, Google+ or via Twitter postings. A specific #hashtag will be used to track the activity.
The winners will be determined by a combination of the number of votes for their essays and for the number of citations (links) from other academic works. Note that links are weighted more heavily than votes and each citation counts as 100 votes. Please note that we reserve the right to exclude any websites from the final tally that we deem inappropriate or irrelevant.
Please refer to the FAQs for examples of appropriate and inappropriate citations.
At conclusion of the voting period, the top five finalists will be selected and notified.
- The top four finalists, as selected by the judges and will be notified via email
- Winners will be announced to the public
To Apply to the Essay Contest
- Fill in “Your Information” in the downloadable application to the right.
- Read the Rules and sign the application.
- Return this form by email (also download the PDF application here).
- Email your original essay to email@example.com.
Specific dates for applying and announcing the winners will be published on this page in the coming weeks.