By Lance Cpl. Cuong Le, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON -- Alexis Quance, is a teenager and daughter of retired Staff Sgt. Jared Quance, who spends her free time with her family or her cats, Rafiki and Raphael.
She wants to go to college and become a physical assistant. Earning a degree can be difficult for any student. Alexis has obstacle her peers don’t. She has Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
This type of cancer is commonly diagnosed in people at the age of 60 or above, Alexis was 17 years old. The blood cancer starts in the bone marrow, causing red blood cells to not mature and respond. This in turn causes the immature cells to keep building up. Without treatment, AML can be fatal.
This type of leukemia is acute. It can spread quickly through the blood to other parts of the body including the brain, spinal cord and liver.
People with her diagnosis may not be thinking of their future, but she’s not most people. Everyday she was not undergoing treatment for her cancer, she would have her nose buried in a textbook. Eventually she graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average.
Her difficult journey to college wasn’t over, treatment costs had completely depleted any money her family saved for her college education.
“When I thought I was not going to be able to go, I was really disappointed.” said Alexis Quance. “I had worked so hard and it was something I had always wanted.”
Margaret Davis, the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, heard about Alexis’ story through a local news channel and immediately contacted Alexis’ father. After a few questions she told him they would award a scholarship to Alexis.
“It was one of the very few times in my life where I truly felt like I had received a gift from someone else,” said Jared Quance, Alexis’ father.
After hanging up the phone Jared passed the news along to his wife Tracey, who told Alexis.
“When I found out I had the scholarship it was so unbelievable, I was super excited and thankful,” Alexis said. “I couldn’t even explain how thankful I was.”
The foundation is a privately funded, non-profit organization which has provided scholarships for post-high school education and career training to all qualified sons and daughters of Marines and Navy corpsmen.
In 1962, Brig. Gen. Martin F. Rockmore started the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to help a World War II Medal of Honor recipient pay for his son’s college tuition. Since then, the organization has awarded more than 30,000 scholarships valued at more than 90 million dollars.
“When you have a group of Marines who are passionate about helping other Marines, what can’t you do,” Davis said. “Fast forward 53 years later and here we are awarding 6.6 million dollars to almost 2,200 sons and daughters of Marines in financial need.’
“Our determination is to be here for another 50 years at least, so to do that we must raise the money today, so we can meet today’s needs and plan for tomorrow.”
Alexis is planning for tomorrow as well. She has won her battle with cancer and is now in remission. Now with a collection of new college textbooks at home, she can continue to work toward her dream.
“Without [the foundation] I would definitely not be going to school, or getting my degree or following my dream to become a physical assistant,” said Alexis. It would not have happened without them.”
To apply for the scholarship the recipients must meet the following criteria: a gross income not to exceed 100,000 dollars in taxable income, active duty or honorable discharge, a 2.0 grade point average or be a son or daughter of fallen or wounded Marines or Corpsman. For more information about the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation visit the MCSF website.