Isabelle Christenson Memorial Scholarship Winners
Rachel was just three years old when her mother began suffering from renal failure. In 1998, Rachel’s mother received a double transplant for a kidney and pancreas. Her mother’s body did not accept the pancreas but, six months later, she received a successful pancreas transplant.
Rachel allowed her mother’s medical journey to inspire her and now hopes to pursue a career in the medical world. While in college, she plans to major in chemistry and possibly neuroscience. After college, she hopes to continue on to medical school where she can conduct research regarding both transplant medicine and colorectal cancer.
Natalie was first exposed to transplantation at 15 years old when her older sister, Katelynn, passed away in an automobile accident. Impressed with the donation process, Natalie was inspired to initiate a day of donor awareness for her high school senior project. She hung posters, passed out brochures, and sold awareness bracelets to raise funds for a scholarship award in Katelynn’s honor.
During Natalie’s junior year at the University of Pittsburgh, she secured an internship with CORE where she was able to shadow the entire donation process. When her internship was complete, Natalie received an offer to fill the position as Administrative Assistant for the Quality and Regulatory Departments.
Natalie has been with CORE for almost a year but has decided to pursue a Masters in Health Administration at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.
Mitchell was diagnosed with acute renal failure a week before starting eighth grade. He was placed on the transplant list and received a kidney, allowing his dreams of furthering his education to become a reality. After his transplant, Mitchell worked with his teachers to improve his academic performance.
Mitchell is grateful for his transplant that has allowed him a second chance at a healthy life. In the fall of 2013, Mitchell will be pursuing his passion for science at Clarion University where he will be majoring in Biochemistry. Mitchell hopes to become a biomedical engineer and continue his schooling once his time at Clarion is complete.
Kylee always admired her brother’s dedication, determination, and strength when it came to swimming. Kylee’s brother passed away in an automobile accident while driving home from school in 2012. The experience of losing her role model and brother was not easy, but it opened her eyes to the importance of organ donation and the gift of life.
Following in her brother's footsteps, Kylee has been a dedicated athlete. She has a desire to help others especially in the sporting environment. While attending college, Kylee hopes to major in athletic training and personal training, allowing her desire to help people come to life.
Mackenzie received a heart transplant in September of 2011 at the beginning of her senior year. What was supposed to be an exciting time in her life became a constant struggle. Mackenzie's heart transplant taught her to embrace her struggles and use them to learn more about herself.
Mackenzie is in her first year of college at Marquette University studying Biomedical Engineering. Surrounded by medical professionals her entire life, Mackenzie was first introduced to Biomedical Engineering when she received her first pacemaker implant at 12 years old. Amazed with the impact of her pacemaker, her curiosity grew to engineering. Mackenzie hopes to work on cell and tissue regeneration projects in the future.
Amber’s mother suffered from kidney failure due to diabetes. In June of 2012, Amber’s mother successfully went through a kidney transplant providing her with a second chance at life. Amber is grateful for the man whose generosity helped save her mother and rebuild her family.
Amber hopes to continue her education by helping those who are incapable of helping themselves. She will be attending Duquesne University where she will be on a pre-med track. After college, she plans to further her education in medical school and receive a degree in Psychiatry.
Theresa was on the transplant list for a year before receiving a kidney transplant in June of 2002. After her kidney transplant, Theresa wanted to give back for the gift of life she received. Theresa began volunteering with CORE in 2007. She would attend school presentations with a CORE representative and tell the students her story. She then began visiting high schools and giving presentations on her own.
Theresa is now awaiting a second transplant, but her first transplant experience and her volunteer work have prepared her for what is to come.
Currently at Fairmont State University, Theresa volunteers for several different organizations while double-majoring in criminal justice and sports management. Her ultimate goal is to attend law school at Temple University.
Holly was 21 when she went in for a routine doctor’s appointment that would turn into a three-month hospital stay and a lifesaving liver transplant. Though Holly does not remember her hospitalization, she has dedicated much of her life to spreading organ donation awareness.
Holly is a member of the Organ Donation Advisory Committee for the state of Michigan as well as one of the founding members of the Transplant Games of America. She has served as special advisor and competitor in the games. In her spare time she volunteers for the non-profit organization, The Waiting List, where she is the social media and interaction specialist. She also is an inspiration speaker and designs her own clothing to help spread awareness.
Holly has decided to go back to college to help pursue her passion for helping others. As she works towards a degree in health communication, she has bright plans for the future. She wants to become a patient advocate to ensure people are receiving proper care and education.
Scott's younger brother, Colin, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when he was 12 years old. Scott put himself on the organ donor list with intent on giving his little brother the kidney he needed. Six months later, Scott was able to give his brother the gift of life by donating one of his kidneys.
After experiencing the organ donation first-hand, Scott has decided to enter the medical field. In college, he hopes to learn the correct procedures needed in order to take care of someone who is ill. He plans to use his college education to help reach a place where he is able to heal others and provide relief for them and their families.
Alyssa suffered from Chronic Renal Failure due to complications from birth. When she was four years old, Alyssa's mother donated her kidney, allowing for a successful transplant. Alyssa's transplant has provided her the opportunity to have a healthy childhood where she dreamed of one day being a teacher.
Alyssa plans to attend Butler Community College for early childhood education for two years before transferring to continue to pursue her dreams of being an early childhood education teacher.