James Kilcrease establishes the Aggie Cancer Survivor Scholarship
My name is James Kilcrease, I am a doctoral candidate that will be graduating this December in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. I graduated with my bachelors' degree in Agricultural Biology here at NMSU in 2009 and come from a long line of NMSU graduates - both my father and grandfather are also NMSU aggie alumni.
Near the end summer 2011, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. One day I went to the doctor, the next day he called me with the results, and then the following morning I went in for surgery. It was a blindly fast pace at which things went. Surgery and recovery were a little slower but went about as well as they could over the next few weeks. Next I completed my qualifying exam for my PhD candidacy just a few days before starting a long road of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy was pretty intense to say the least, I had weeks where I was in the hospital receiving treatments 8-9 hours a day, 5 days in a row. Then on the 6th day I would have to a white blood cell booster shot that made just about every muscle you never knew you had hurt. Week after week, with the support of my family and friends I pushed through it. I lost most all of my hair and I must say - wow winter sure is cold with no hair. I was able to stay full-time as a graduate student and conduct work / special topics class work during my time in the hospital. Upon completion of chemotherapy and recovery, research and graduate life continued unscathed.
This whole experience shined a new light on life and really put many things in perspective. I had the idea to start up the Aggie Cancer Survivor Scholarship as a means of recognizing others that have been battled all kinds of cancers, overcoming the odds and continuing on to pursue a higher education. The mental, physical, and financial challenges of cancer are not small feats to be dealt with and ones who have ventured down this road should be rewarded for their efforts. This scholarship has the ability to give great opportunities to many future graduate students.
"Life comes in waves"
To donate to the Aggie Cancer Survivor Scholarship contact Cindy G. Nicholson at (575) 646-4665, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the NMSU Foundation Online Giving webpage for the Aggie Cancer Survivor Endowed Scholarship.
Income from the Aggie Cancer Survivor Endowed Scholarship will be used to award one or more graduate students (masters or doctoral) enrolled in the Graduate School at New Mexico State University. All graduate students who are cancer survivors are eligible. The recipient does not have to be currently receiving treatment to qualify.