As students returned back to school across the nation this year, The ALS Association shared the announcement of an award of $350,000 in scholarships to 70 students for the 2022-2023 school year through The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund.
Established in 2019, the fund was created to support post-high school education for students whose lives have been impacted by ALS. Since its inception, the Association has awarded $1,545,000 in 309 scholarships for students nationwide who are pursuing an accredited college degree or vocational certificate.
“The financial burden of ALS is devastating to families, and kids are all too often collateral damage,” says Mark Calmes, member of The ALS Association’s National Board of Trustees, and founder of the scholarship fund. Mark and his family created the fund in honor of his late wife, Jane, who fought ALS for eight years and passed away in August 2017. “The disease forces many students to delay their education so they can pitch in as caregivers, while others lose the financial ability to attend school altogether. I’m very pleased the fund is able to help some of these students get back on the education path that was disrupted by ALS.”
We recently talked with Sam Howard, one of the 2022 scholarship recipients, to learn more about his personal connection to ALS, what receiving the scholarship means to him, and his future plans in computer science.
The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund was established to help people who have been impacted by ALS pursue their education. What is your personal connection to ALS?
My dad was diagnosed with ALS about two years ago. He is still battling with ALS to this day.
It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of people don’t know what ALS is. What do you wish people knew about the disease?
I wish more people knew how devastating it is and it would inspire more research to help find a cure.
How will the Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund impact your future?
The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship will help reduce the financial burden on my family and me. This will allow me to focus more on my education and finishing my degree.
What are you planning to study and why?
I have studied computer science for two years. I chose to study computer science because growing up I was always interested in technology and wanted to pursue a career in tech.
What do you like to do when you aren’t in school?
When I am not in school, I like to play video games with my friends and family or going on trails with my family and girlfriend.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to say thanks for this opportunity given to me through this scholarship. I would also like to thank my local community which has been very helpful with fundraisers and helping out with meals for my family. They have been a major help through these tough times.