MABLETON, Ga.—Boxercraft announces Kate Elizabeth Bowling of Medina, Ohio, as the winner of the 2019 Boxercraft Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer Scholarship. The company gives Bowling $3,000 to put toward her education.
The scholarship fund was created in 2017 to honor the memory of Tod Rastello, former Boxercraft VP of sales, who passed away in 2016 from pancreatic cancer. The scholarship is open to patients, survivors, and any immediate family member whose life has been impacted by a loved one’s battle with the disease. It's intended to help pay for tuition and other college-related expenses.
Each year, a scholarship committee consisting of Boxercraft staff and the Rastello family reviews each application 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 the scholarship's inception, Boxercraft has awarded $7,000 to help students pay for college expenses.
Like most teenagers, 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,” she says. In October of 2016, at the age of 15, Bowling was diagnosed with stage IV of pancreatic cancer, which spread to her liver.
Three years after her diagnosis with a low rate for survival, she is a freshman at The University of Akron, studying forensic psychology. Bowling has completed 25 chemo treatments, endured several surgeries, and went through four rounds of radiation. “I have a few tumors left that doctors believe can be removed with surgery,” she adds.
Boxercraft says choosing a recipient is never easy, but this year’s proved especially hard due to several candidates facing personal and financial hardships. “It was such a hard decision. All the applicants are worthy,” says Tammy Rastello, the wife of the late Tod Rastello.
“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!”
Applicants not selected for the award are encouraged to reapply each year. To learn more and apply for the 2020 scholarship, visit www.boxercraft.com/pancreatic-cancer-scholarship.