The ALS Association is 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.
In its inaugural year, the fund awarded $225,000 in scholarships to 45 students nationwide whose personal or family finances were compromised by the financial burden of ALS.
“The financial burden of ALS is devastating on families, and kids are all too often collateral damage. The disease forces many kids to delay their education so they can pitch in as caregivers, while others lose the financial ability to attend school altogether. I’m very pleased the fund was able to help some of these students get back on the education path that was disrupted by ALS,” said Mark Calmes, vice chair of The ALS Association’s National Board of Trustees.
Calmes started the scholarship fund in honor of his late wife, Jane, who fought ALS for eight years and passed away in August 2017. The fund provides financial assistance to students pursuing an accredited college degree or vocational certificate.
“Jane was a quiet, gentle, yet tenacious warrior, and I promised her I would continue the fight as long as I could. She also put such a high value on education, so this scholarship fund seemed like a great way to honor her,” Calmes said.
The scholarship is not limited to traditional two- or four-year college degrees, but is also intended to cover vocational education.
“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,” Calmes said.
Katelyn Hottle, from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was one of last year’s recipients. Katelyn received the news of her father’s ALS diagnosis during her senior year of high school – just as she was deciding which college she would choose to attend. However, her father’s diagnosis drastically changed her family’s circumstances. They lost the house they had lived in for over 12 years and had to make financial sacrifices they never had to make before in order to meet the devastating financial burden of ALS.
“While my family wanted me to go to the school I have dreamed of going to, figuring out how to pay for it was – and still is – a nightmare,” Katelyn said.
“I tried my hardest to work every day at my local waitressing job, but it was not enough to cover the tremendous expenses (of college tuition). This scholarship is truly a blessing and makes our lives so much easier. I express my thanks for supporting my college career and helping to make my dreams come true,” she added.
Applications for this year’s scholarship awards, which will be distributed for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, are being accepted through May 18, 2020.
To apply for The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund awards, donate to the scholarship fund, or get additional information, please click 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
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.