ALS Association Offering New Scholarship Program for Students Affected by ALS

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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The ALS Association has launched a financial aid program, called The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund, to help students whose lives are affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pursue a college degree or vocational certificate.

The scholarship program will award $5,000 a year to at least 30 students whose personal or family finances have been severely affected by ALS. Recipients will have their scholarship renewed for up to three years or until they graduate or get a degree.

Fall 2019 applications are due by May 21. To apply, applicants need to be able to show proof of financial hardship due to a personal ALS diagnosis or a close family member with ALS.

Students should be high school seniors, postsecondary undergraduate students, or be enrolled in a vocational program. In addition, they must be planning to enroll for at least six credits per semester in an undergraduate program at a two- or four-year accredited college, university, or vocational-technical school for the entire upcoming academic year, with the aim of obtaining a degree.

“The financial burden of ALS is well-documented and can devastate a family’s ability to make ends meet,” Neil Thakur, executive vice president of mission strategy for the ALS Association, said in a press release.

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The Jane Calmes ALS scholarship fund was established in honor of Jane Calmes, wife of Mark Calmes, the vice chairman of the ALS Association’s National Board of Trustees. Jane Calmes fought ALS for eight years and died in August 2017.

“Jane amazed me every day. She was a fighter who battled three illnesses in a row — a silent heart attack, breast cancer, and then ALS. After she died, I began to think of ways to honor her courageous spirit and compassion,” Mark Calmes said. “The idea of a scholarship program resonated with me because Jane was always keen on the lifelong benefits provided by education.”

He has served on the ALS association board since 2015 and has intimate knowledge of the challenges that come with the diagnosis.

“Students from families that are dealing with, or have dealt with ALS, are often overlooked and collateral damage to the disease. This damage can negatively impact people for a lifetime and needs to be addressed,” he said.

To apply or get more information about the application process for the scholarship, or to donate to the fund, visit the webpage here.