Meet the Finalist: Maya Keesey

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At age 11, Maya Keesey of McHenry, IL, began a 27 month battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Two years later, Maya faced a new unique challenge when she completed a 3.3 mile swim across Lake Geneva. While racing far from shore, Maya was reminded of journey beating cancer. In her award winning essay Maya writes, “Both cancer and the lake swim took me outside of my comfort zone, where perseverance and self-reliance were necessary. Each of these journeys helped me learn a remarkable amount about myself and realize that I can do things I never would have imagined, even when it feels like an insurmountable challenge.”

Maya discovered through these experiences that when a person offers help to others, that person is made stronger as well. Maya has strengthened herself through her fundraising and public speaking efforts within the pediatric cancer community; she has raised over $50,000, and was awarded in 2016 as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student of the Year. Maya engages in the broader community as well through tutoring, organizing her school’s blood drive, and as member of her Student Council.

Maya’s teacher, Sandra Dwire shares, “[Maya] has shown incredible maturity and positivity throughout her journey, and every year I celebrate along with her as she marks another year of being cancer-free.”

Maya hopes to become a nurse and use her unique perspective and experiences to continue serving her community.

Richie's Spirit Foundation congratulates Maya Keesey on being named the 2019 College Scholarship Second Place Recipient. Please stay tuned for the announcement of the first place scholarship winner coming soon.