When teens Madelyne Guerrero-Bravo, Akisha Fleuridor, and Rebekah Kilpatrick showed up to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers recently, they thought they were just there to get some bloodwork done. But the three cancer survivors were actually there to be presented with full-ride scholarships to any Florida university. The scholarships were granted by the non-profit organization Barbara’s Friends and were entirely funded by donations.
The three teens’ care team erupted in cheers as the news broke. "We wanna make sure that we give you a chance at life,” says Dr. Emad Salman, a pediatric oncologist at Golisano, “So that you can do something with your life and give back."
Madelyne, who was diagnosed with cancer at nine, and Akisha, a Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, both plan to attend the University of South Florida, where they hope to become a pediatric nurse and a sports medicine physician, respectively. And Rebekah, who overcame leukemia as a child, plans to become a science teacher. Barbara's Friends have already started fundraising efforts for next year.