As students are returning back to school across the nation, The ALS Association shared the announcement of an award of $350,000 in scholarships to 70 students for the 2022-2023 school year through The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund. Established in 2019, the fund was created to support post-high school education for students whose lives have been impacted by ALS. Since its inception, the Association has awarded $1,545,000 in 309 scholarships for students nationwide who are pursuing an accredited college degree or vocational certificate.
“The financial burden of ALS is devastating to families, and kids are all too often collateral damage,” says Mark Calmes, member of The ALS Association’s National Board of Trustees, and founder of the scholarship fund. Mark and his family created the fund in honor of his late wife, Jane, who fought ALS for eight years and passed away in August 2017. “The disease forces many students 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 is able to help some of these students get back on the education path that was disrupted by ALS.”
We recently talked with Liam Rudin, one of the 2022 scholarship recipients, to learn more about his connection to ALS, what receiving the scholarship means to him, and his future plans studying accounting.
The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund was established to help people who have been impacted by ALS pursue their education. What is your personal connection to ALS?
My personal connection to ALS comes from my dad. He was diagnosed in October of 2011 and battled the disease for around two and a half years. He passed away in June of 2014.
It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of people don’t know what ALS is. What do you wish people knew about the disease?
I wish people knew how much changes with an ALS diagnosis. Not only does the person affected have their life flipped upside down, but everyone close to them does as well. Many routine activities for some families are impossible for the families with an ALS diagnosis in them. Also, I wish more people knew that there is currently no cure for ALS.
How will the Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund impact your future?
The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund will greatly help me afford college and the many expenses that are necessary for college, such as textbooks. This scholarship fund will allow me to take minimal loans, which will help me start fresh once I graduate.
What are you planning to study and why?
I am planning to study accounting. I chose accounting because I have always loved math and number manipulation, and a lot of my family members are in business. My dad studied finance and my brother is also studying accounting, so it seemed like a natural decision for me.
What do you like to do when you aren’t in school?
When I am not in school, I love going to concerts. My favorite artist I have seen live is Brett Young, but I love going to see all kinds of different music live.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Also, I love watching movies or TV shows to relax.