Applications Are Being Accepted for Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund

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by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund wants to help support students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies, but whose families have been impacted financially by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

This is the fourth year The ALS Association, together with Mark Calmes, is offering support to U.S. post-high school students affected by the neurodegenerative condition. Calmes, a member of the association’s national board of trustees, started the scholarship in honor of his wife, Jane, who passed away in 2017 after an eight-year fight with ALS.

This year, the program will award a grant of up to $5,000 per year — or $2,500 a semester — to at least 20 students. The funding is intended to cover the costs of a college degree or vocational education.

“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,” Calmes said in a press release.

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“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.

This year’s applications, managed by Scholarship America, are being accepted through May 18 and are valid for the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters.

To apply, students must have been financially impacted by a diagnosis of ALS, either theirs or of a living or deceased family member or guardian. They also must be a high school senior, a graduate, or a postsecondary undergraduate who is planning to enroll for a minimum of six credits per semester in undergraduate studies at a U.S. accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school for the academic year to come.

The student must also submit a complete transcript of academic grades and prove financial need by providing their most recent tax return.

Award recipients will be selected based on their academic record, proven leadership and engagement in school and community activities, work experience, educational and career goals, and an online recommendation from a teacher, advisor, or community leader.

“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.

Since its launch, the fund has awarded more than $1 million in 239 scholarships for students across the country. People are invited to donate to the fund to help support more students.

“The Jane Calmes ALS Scholarship Fund is an absolute game changer for me as it’ll be a huge help paying my college tuition. My family spent (and still spends) a lot of our resources helping to care for my grandparents,” said Emma Thompson, one of last year’s recipients whose grandmother was diagnosed with ALS in 2018.

“With assisted living and doctor’s bills for the two of them hitting over $15,000/month, the financial strain on our family was immediate. That along with my family’s business being closed during COVID, my college savings was quickly drained to help keep us all afloat. I’m so grateful for the ALS Association’s support and for the opportunity to be an ALS advocate and educator in the medical field,” Thompson said.