Meet the Finalist: Anna Martin

Anna Martin.jpg

Ms. Martin was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 10 years old. After chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and multiple medical setbacks, Anna recovered and lived cancer-free until faced with thyroid cancer during her junior year of high school.

Yet, from that first diagnosis, Anna was able to transform her fear into action. In her award-winning essay, Anna wrote that “I knew that if I survived I wanted to make an impact on the world around me. I lost so many of my friends from cancer and I am now living in their honor. It is my personal mission to give back to the hospital that saved my life and to help families who are going through that same horrible journey of cancer.”

Charged with this mission, Anna started an annual drive in 2012 to gather gift cards, gas cards, toys, and money for the oncology patients and their families at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH). In addition to raising funds and resources, she volunteers her time twice a week at ETCH playing with patients and leading fun exercises like dancing, hula hooping, or soccer in the hallways. To date, Anna has volunteered 320 hours and raised over $15,000 in gift cards and toys.

Suzanne Sherman, Ms. Martin’s teacher and school librarian, says “Anna before the diagnosis was kind, compassionate, and giving. Anna after the diagnosis was kind, compassionate, and giving but more determined than ever to make a difference in the world with those qualities and to give back to the same community that nurtured her through her treatments.”

Anna wants to continue providing support and hope within the community that nurtured her by becoming a pediatric oncology nurse.

Richie's Spirit Foundation congratulates Anna Martin on being named the 2019 College Scholarship First Place Recipient.