Spencer H.

Undergraduate Recipient

"What inspirational advice would you give to others with CF entering high school or college? As part of your essay, please also explain the significance of your creative presentation to your journey with CF."

Making the transition to high school or college is often marked by the attempt to discover your own identity. And for students with cystic fibrosis, an additional and inevitable part of this process of self-understanding is coming to grips with the life-altering reality of a condition which demands rigorous daily treatment. It is tempting to try to conceal CF from others - or worse, to conceal it from yourself in denial - in order to avoid being identified as "the person with the chronic illness."

I would urge my fellow students with CF to neither define themselves in terms of the disease, nor try to hide the condition from others. Decide to treat each difficulty which CF brings you as an opportunity both to grow stronger and to draw closer to those who love you. Building and maintaining a strong support group is essential to thriving with this disease, and in my years in college, I have found tremendous support from my family, friends, and CF team by being open about the disease and its impact upon my life. I have tried to express some of the gratitude I feel towards these people for helping me in my creative presentation, a poem which offers each of them a "rose" from the "sixty-five roses" nickname for CF.

If you are a young person with CF, don't give up. Choose to build up loving relationships with friends and family. Choose to face each day with courage. Choose to live.


Spencer H.'s Artwork

Spencer H.'s Achievements

  • Worked as paid peer tutor in mathematics and statistics for UGA Division of Academic Enhancement 2014-2015, chosen as Tutor of the Year by program coordinator.
  • Presented paper entitled "DeWeese and Rasmussen on the Kalam Cosmological Argument: A Critique" at the 2014 UGA Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.
  • Member of the Demosthenian Literary Society's Spring 2014 Inter-Society Debate team.
  • UGA MathCounts volunteer tutor, Spring 2014.
  • University of Georgia Honors Program Student, Summer 2013 - Present.
  • Presented paper entitled "Charging Dr. Jekyll" at the 2013 Georgia Southern University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.
  • Admitted to Georgia Southern University for Fall 2012 as one of six incoming 1906 Scholars, the university's premier full-tuition academic scholarship.
  • Lead attorney for prosecution on Middle Georgia Christian Homeschool Association's mock trial team, 2011-2012.
  • President of Toastmasters High School Youth Leadership Club, Fall 2011 - mentored younger students in their speech writing and presentation.
  • Toastmasters International Competent Communicator, Spring 2012.