Applications Sought for Foundation Scholarships

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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The Anna Belle Carter Memorial Foundation (ABCMF) is offering scholarships to students living with scleroderma and their siblings who remain under the care of their parents and guardians.

Recipients can apply their ABCMF scholarships toward undergraduate degrees, initial graduate degrees, or certifications at accredited colleges, universities, and technical schools.

To be eligible, an applicant should be a youth formally diagnosed (by a rheumatologist or other physician) and being treated for any type of scleroderma, or a sibling still living under the care of the parent or guardian of the child with scleroderma.

They also should be enrolled in an accredited college or university, for at least 12 (undergraduate) or six semester hours (graduate), or in a technical school for a full year, working toward either a diploma or trade certificate.

Previous awardees may apply again, but family members of the ABCMF, its board of directors, or of the scholarship selection committee cannot.

An applicant’s gender, ethnicity, religion, race, or disability will not factor into the decision process.

The ABCMF hopes to award at least three scholarships per year. It will send scholarship funds as checks directly to awardees, who may use them as needed to further their education.

“What good is a scholarship,” the ABCMF asks on its website, “if you cannot use it how you need it?”

The application form may be downloaded here. Applications are due by April 14 and a decision will be made on May 15. Recipients will receive a letter.

Anna Bell Carter, from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was the daughter of Joshua and Amber Carter. She was diagnosed with limited scleroderma — also known as CREST syndrome — in 2017, after her parents noticed she no longer could make a fist.

Despite daily symptoms such as heartburn, constipation, and sore muscles, she was a skilled actor and excelled at dancing, practicing at a local studio.

Anna contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and died on July 10, the day before that state’s mask mandate went into effect. Her family started the ABCMF shortly thereafter, hoping to ease some of the burden placed upon people in the U.S. whose lives are touched by scleroderma.

“Our family knows what a financial cost medical treatments can be and travel to a specialist to care for your child,” they stated on its website.