“These kids have grit. It is very rewarding to help them thrive, despite the hardships they face.” — Greyson Geiler
The LiveLikeLou Foundation has awarded 2021 Iron Horse Scholarships to four more dependents of ALS families, bringing the number of awardees to twelve since the national charity kicked off in 2018. Also, new this year, several one-time ONWARD Awards were offered to semi-finalists. The Iron Horse Scholarship Committee, led by LiveLikeLou Treasurer and Phi Delt Greyson Geiler, Nebraska ’93, reviewed applications from across the country and began the selection process last spring.
“These awards bring amazing dignity and financial relief for the families who receive the funds,” Greyson said. “When ALS hits families, their lives change forever. Children become caregivers and often live with a lot of loss. Our funds can be a game changer.”
The Iron Horse Scholarship provides up to $2,130 and is renewable for up to eight semesters per student. ONWARD Awards provide a one-time $500 payment to offset college expenses.
LiveLikeLou Chairman WL Gray, TCU ’70 said, “We want all recipients to understand that the legacy of the Iron Horse Lou Gehrig was determination and gratitude. So, we chose $2,130 to celebrate his consecutive games-played record.”
He added, “This year we offered the ONWARD Awards to semi-finalists because, especially during these difficult times, we know every dollar helps. ONWARD is the term LiveLikeLou Co-founder Neil Alexander used to inspire us to work for the cause of ALS.”
Scholarship recipients are expected to volunteer for programs that support other ALS families each year and are also invited to speak at the LiveLikeLou board of trustees annual meeting.
“We are building a really nice community of support around these young people,” Geiler explained.
“These kids have grit,” he added. “It is very rewarding to help them thrive despite the hardships they face.”
LiveLikeLou is actively raising funds for the awardees’ remaining need, and hopes to add even more recipients each year.
“We are working to endow more scholarships in the future, so our ALS families can count on the recurring support despite the challenges that come with this disease,” said LiveLikeLou Co-founder Suzanne Alexander. “We want our supporters to know their awardee’s names, and we want the awardees to know where the funds come from.”
“This is one of the most heart-warming programs LiveLikeLou offers,” she added.
Congratulations to the 2021 Iron Horse Scholarship Awardees!
Ellie Cimbura is a freshman at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Ellie’s dad Mike died from ALS in 2018. His journey inspired her to become a vocal advocate for the cause of ALS, writing letters and meeting with federal and state legislators to improve patient access to funds, care, and drug trials.
Ellie writes that her dream is to care for others facing devastating health challenges as a nurse practitioner.
“I’m looking forward to bettering the world by following my passion,” she added.
Janelle Hickly is attending Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania, as a freshman pursuing a bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry. Janelle and her two sisters experienced a lot of loss due to her dad’s death from ALS at the age of forty-one, she writes, and her single mom struggled to make ends meet. Despite hardship, however, Janelle was a three-sport varsity athlete and a member of the National Honor Society. She joins two other sisters also in college.
Janelle intends to become a clinical researcher for the disease ALS, writing “I want to be a part of the team that finds a cure for ALS.”
Samantha Mongiello is a sophomore at Temple University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her dad was diagnosed with ALS in 2015. As the fourth child of six, Samantha writes of the financial burden her family faces, and her own concerns for college funding. Her high school successes include membership with the National Honor Society and the National Business Honor Society, and she has regularly volunteered as an ambassador for Hope Loves Company, an organization that serves children of ALS families across North America.
Samantha writes, “Instead of working at a job to afford tuition, this scholarship will let me spend more time with my dad making priceless memories, so I can cherish the time I have left with him.”
Isabelle Snyder is a junior attending Colorado State University, majoring in health and exercise science with a minor in biomedical sciences. She volunteers for the Athletic Training Club, is president of her school’s service club, and has made the dean’s list each semester, despite the hardships of ALS at home. Isabelle’s goal is to become a physical therapist, with a specialty in neurology. She looks forward to a career of serving others.
Isabelle’s dad Jeffrey lost his battle with ALS just weeks after learning she was awarded the Iron Horse Scholarship.
Congratulations to the 2021 ONWARD Award Recipients!
Chris Meyers, University of Kentucky
Sydney Petrone, Quinnipiac University
Evan Runkle, Miami University
Aiden Cimbura, University of Alabama
Ethan Townsend, Boise State University