Applications Now Open for the Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund

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For the fifth year, The ALS Association is now accepting applications for The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2019 to support post-high school education for students whose lives have been impacted by ALS. Scholarship recipients receive up to $5,000 per year to help cover the cost of education.

ALS Association’s National Board of Trustees member, Mark Calmes, started the scholarship fund in honor of his late wife, Jane, who fought ALS for eight years before passing away in August 2017. Since its inception, the fund has awarded more than $1,500,000 in over 300 scholarships to students nationwide who are pursuing an accredited college degree or vocational certificate.

“Families lose a lot of financial wherewithal because of this disease. Statistically, somewhere between $200,00 and $250,000 comes of folk’s pockets (each year) to battle this disease. That causes a lot of families to lose the financial ability to send their kids on to postsecondary school, whether that’s college or vocational school,” said Mark. “The positive side is that we are fulfilling that unmet need.”

“Jane was a huge advocate of education,” Mark added. “She graduated from college manga cum laude. She always insisted our kids get an education. She taught inner city kids through an afterschool program through our church. She was very passionate about education. I thought that all married up with the idea of doing a scholarship fund.”

Having the scholarships cover not just traditional two- or four-year college degrees but vocational education was vital to Mark and his family. “It's important that all kids, no matter what profession they want to go into, have the ability to seek out these awards to help them pursue their life dreams,” he said.

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Ashley Wong

One such beneficiary, Ashley Wong, was one of the 2022 Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund recipients. Her father passed away from ALS in September of 2019 after being diagnosed just 9 months prior. The scholarship is helping her pursue her goal of earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

“I am studying nursing because of my family’s history with health and diseases. My mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer when I was 10 and my father was diagnosed with ALS when I was 16,” Ashley said. “Through my experiences with these incurable diseases, I have realized the unparalleled importance of nurses in the care for patients and their families. I am pursuing my career as a nurse with the desire to care for patients as people first and foremost without allowing their disease/illness to define them.”

Applications for this year’s scholarship awards, which will be distributed for the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters, are being accepted now through May 18, 2023.

To apply for The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund awards, donate to the scholarship fund, or learn more, please visit our website here.

The Jane Calmes Scholarship Fund is being administered by Scholarship America. To apply, click HERE.

More About Jane Calmes
The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund honors Jane’s courageous spirit, her love of family, and her belief in the importance of education.

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Jane Calmes with her daughters
Jane and her daughters

Jane Calmes was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, and spent her youth in Neodesha, Kansas. She attended Kansas University and later graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wichita State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science/Dental Hygiene. Jane was an accomplished dental hygienist and loved working with the public, all the while providing a necessary service with gentle thoroughness, for which she was noted. She married Mark Calmes in 1980 and together they had four children. Jane was also an ALS hero, having fought the disease for eight years through pure grit and determination. Early on in her journey with ALS, the family formed a very successful Walk to Defeat ALS® team in her honor named Jane’s Angels, which continues today. Jane passed away peacefully at home on August 16, 2017, in the arms of her husband and surrounded by her loving family.

To continue following stories about people living with ALS in the community and learn more about the disease, subscribe to receive our weekly blogs in your inbox HERE or follow us at als.org/blog.

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