By John Brown University
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Last October Blake Garrison received the type of news that no one wants to hear. His dad had been taken to the hospital after having a seizure. The devastating news continued to roll in as the doctors determined that the seizure had been caused by a brain tumor. They diagnosed Blake’s father with melanoma, with tumors spread all over his lungs as well.
Blake, a sophomore at JBU at the time, immediately began to feel the financial strain his family was under during his dad’s battle with cancer. His dad, who was an automotive paint salesman and had to travel a lot for work, was not allowed to drive until he had been seizure-free for six months. These restrictions significantly reduced the amount of work that his dad was able to do, and money was tight for the Garrison family.
Blake’s dad started chemotherapy and cyber knife treatments for his tumors, and the cancer treatments seemed to be going well. The doctors were optimistic, and Blake and his family began to hope that everything in their lives would get back to normal soon.
“When I came home for Christmas break, we found out that another tumor had appeared on his brain,” Blake said. “At that point we knew we didn’t have much time left with my dad, but we had no idea just how short it would be.”
The next morning, Blake’s dad got up like he normally did. Blake and his mom both left for work just as they normally did. But later that morning, Blake got the call that his father had died shortly after he left for work.
“After recovering from the initial shock of losing someone you loved so suddenly, my family and I started looking at how we could afford living without my dad’s income,” Blake said.
The Garrison’s financial situation didn’t look promising. Blake knew that returning to JBU would be a financial stretch, and he began considering a possible transfer to a local university in his home state of Colorado, where he could live at home and pay in-state tuition.
“After receiving my initial financial aid award letter for my junior year at JBU, my fears were confirmed,” Blake said. “We simply would not be able to afford another year at JBU.”
At the advice of some of his professors and his residence hall RA, Blake decided to contact the JBU Financial Aid Office to tell them his situation and see if there were any more scholarships available. The Financial Aid Office worked hard to find the funds that the Garrison family needed to continue sending Blake to John Brown University.
“If I had not received those scholarships, I would have had to transfer to another school and possibly take a year off from college,” Blake said. “I love this school and I am so thankful for the education I am receiving. Attending JBU would be impossible for me had I not received the scholarships that I have.”
Blake is now a junior at JBU, on track to graduate with his degree in mechanical engineering in May 2012. His future dreams include pursuing a graduate degree in aerospace engineering or an MBA and working for an aerospace company and eventually perhaps even NASA.
Because of the scholarships Blake Garrison received from the John Brown University Scholarship Fund, losing his dad to cancer didn’t mean losing his dream of a JBU education as well.
Please give annually to the JBU scholarship fund to continue to help students in need like Blake.