Miracle Monday: 3 teen cancer survivors get full-ride scholarships

Reporter: Amanda Hall Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Three high school graduates who beat cancer and thought they were going to Golisano Children’s Hospital for blood work instead walked out with full-ride scholarships to any Florida university they choose.

Their team of nurses cheered as they received the good news.

“We wanna make sure that we give you a chance at life,” Dr. Emadsalman, a pediatric oncologist, said. “Not just surviving cancer, but so that you can do something with your life and give back.”

Madelyne Guerrero-Bravo was nine years old when she was diagnosed with cancer and will be the first in her family to go to college. The scholarship means the South Fort Myers High School student can go to her dream school, the University of South Florida, with plans to become a pediatric registered nurse.

“I also wanted to have an opportunity to help other kids like all of you guys have helped me, so I wanted to give something back as well,” Madelyne told her nurses.

“Of course, I’d be so proud of my daughter, and I’m very lucky and I want to say ‘thank you,'” said Cindy Bravo, Madelyne’s mother.

Madelyne will have company at USF: Akisha Fleuridor, who beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2020, also wants to be a Tampa Bull so she can marry her love of medicine with her athletic talent, running track and field. The Dunbar High School student has been running since she was in middle school.

“I want to do kinesiology, and I plan to become a sports medicine physician,” Akisha said.

A lot of hugs and happy tears were shed. A few minutes later, the team surprised the third young lady.

“Literally, complete surprise,” said Rebekah Kilpatrick. “I’m still like a deer in the headlights. Like, woah!”

Rebekah proved to be a fighter from a young age, beating leukemia as a toddler. Now a second-degree black belt, she teaches taekwondo and is already studying at Florida SouthWestern State College with plans to become a science teacher.

“I just noticed I really love teaching kids and helping them understand something,” Rebekah said.

Barbara’s Friends awarded the scholarships, which are funded entirely by donations and cover four years of education at any Florida school. Fundraising has already started for next year’s scholarships.

Send us an email at Amanda.Hall@winknews.com, if you have any suggestions or ideas for a Miracle Monday story.

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