Boxercraft announced today Kate Elizabeth Bowling of Medina, OH, as the winner of the 2019 Boxercraft Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer Scholarship. Bowling will receive $3,000 to put toward her education. The scholarship was created in 2017 to honor the memory of Tod Rastello, former Boxercraft vice president of sales, who passed away in 2016 from pancreatic cancer. The scholarship is open to patients, survivors, and any immediate family member whose life was impacted by a loved one’s battle with the disease.
Each year, a scholarship committee consisting of Boxercraft staff and the Rastello family carefully reviews each application and essay submitted to select a winner. “We felt it would be extra special for Tod’s family to be involved in the selection process,” says Boxercraft CEO Shelley Foland. Since 2017, Boxercraft has awarded $7,000 in scholarships to help students impacted by pancreatic cancer pay for college expenses.
Like most teenagers, Kate Bowling had dreams of going to college to make her way in life. “My priorities had always been fairly simple; go to college, get a degree in criminal justice, and become a crime scene investigator,” says Bowling. Her road to success seemed bright until her life took an unexpected turn. In October of 2016, at the young age of 15, Kate was diagnosed with stage IV of pancreatic cancer, which had spread to her liver. To add to her devastation, she was told that she didn’t have much longer to live. But Bowling was a fighter! Together with her parents, the teen refused to give up hope.
Three years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and a low rate for survival, Bowling, a relentless warrior, is now living her dream. She is a freshman at The University of Akron in Ohio studying forensic psychology—a reality that she fought much of her life to achieve. Bowling has completed 25 chemo treatments, endured several surgeries, and went through 4 rounds of radiation. “I have a few tumors left that doctors believe can be removed with surgery,” she says.
Selecting a winner for the scholarship is never an easy task, but this year’s pool of applicants proved even more challenging for the committee. Candidates facing personal and financial hardships that deserve support was a commonality among all submissions. “It was such a hard decision. All the applicants are worthy,” says Tammy Rastello, the wife of the late Tod Rastello. After much deliberation, the committee selected Kate Bowling as the 2019 scholarship winner.
“We applaud Kate’s accomplishments and her ability to overcome obstacles in pursuit of her dreams. Her story is inspiring and her determination even more so,” says Foland. “We would like to thank all participants for their wonderful essays and extend our best wishes for their bright and promising futures!”
The Boxercraft Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer Scholarship helps students affected by pancreatic cancer pay for their tuition and other college-related expenses. Past applicants not selected for the award are encouraged to reapply each year. The next deadline to apply for the Boxercraft Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer Scholarship is July 2020. To learn more and apply for the scholarship, visit www.boxercraft.com/pancreatic-cancer-scholarship/.