As a public service

I just felt moved to share this wonderful story with you this morning. See this man here to the left?  That’s Rhio O’Conner. I was applying for scholarships at 6:00 this morning and found his story.

Rhio O’Connor was a remarkable man. He was diagnosed with a deadly cancer and given a year to live. Instead of giving up he found his own path to health and outlived his prognosis by more than six years.

Rhio survived by intensively researching his cancer. He spent hours in the library and spoke to countless doctors, researchers and patients. He learned what various therapies offered, their long and short term side effects, and the theories and philosophies behind them.

Through this rigorous educational process, Rhio was able to help create his own therapeutic protocol along side the clinicians that he selected. He also developed the capacity to exercise informed consent that was truly fact based and informed.

This extraordinary intellectual effort along with Rhio’s optimistic spirit, belief in something greater than himself, and the ability to make tough choices helped him beat his prognosis and live with a cancer considered “incurable” for many years.

Undergraduate students at colleges and universities in the United States are invited to honor Rhio’s spirit of self determination and intellectual curiosity by writing an essay about what they would do if they faced the same challenges that Rhio faced. For example, what steps would you take if you were given a dire cancer prognosis? How would you conduct your research and make an informed decision when choosing a treatment? Would you look beyond chemo, radiation and surgery if they had little to offer? What resources would you use to make an informed decision? Essays will be scored by a review board composed of College Professors.

The cash awards are:

$5,000 First Prize
$2,000 Second Prize
$1000 Third Prize
$500 Fourth Prize
$100 Fifth Prize
$50 Honorable Mention (there are thirty Honorable Mention awards)

Applicants must be eighteen years of age or older and currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university. High school students are ineligible unless they are 18 year of age or older and are also attending a college or university.

Scholarship applicants must post their essay on the web in accordance with the following deadlines:

Deadline for Posting Essay on any website/blog: November 9, 2009 at 10:00 P.M. ET.

Deadline for Posting Essay on .edu website/blog: February 26, 2010 at 10:00 P.M. ET.

Winners Selected: April 23, 2010

Winners Notified by: June 15, 2010

To receive a Scholarship Application and a copy of the Rules please send an email to: aelliott@cancermonthly.com Please put the word “scholarship” in the subject line.

Wow. What an honor it will be for me to apply for this amazing award in the name of this courageous man.

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