Children who have open heart surgery typically have a congenital heart defect, such as a hole in the heart. Some may have open heart surgery to correct these problems as early as infancy or later in their lives. Because their families may incur overwhelming medical expenses to treat the disease, these children may lack the financial resources to attend college. Fortunately, a few local and regional scholarships and one national gift are available for children with congenital heart disease who have had open heart surgery.
Congenital Heart Defect Coalition
The Congenital Heart Defect Coalition raises money for research and support of families with children who have a congenital heart defect. The CHD Coalition Scholarship Program provides two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors who are entering college or trade school. Eligible students must have a congenital heart defect and must be residents of New Jersey or Metropolitan New York City, which includes the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and Rockland County. Past winners have had multiple heart surgeries, some as young as infancy.
Children's Heart Foundation
The Nevada-based Children's Heart Foundation offers the Smart Heart Scholarship Program, which provides two scholarships of $3,000 each to graduating high school seniors who have congenital heart disease. Students must be under the care of a Nevada doctor, and they must be entering a four-year college program. Students can pursue any course of study at any college throughout the country, so long as it is an accredited program. Several previous winners have had open heart surgery.
Heart of Gold Charity Inc.
Students who attend one of six high schools in the Midwest and who have a congenital heart defect may be eligible for this scholarship. The six high schools are Badger High School and Wilmot High School in Wisconsin; Munising High School in Minnesota; and Harvard High School, Johnsburg High School and Richmond-Burton High School in Illinois. Eligible students must also intend to pursue a medical or nursing program in college. Financial need and academic performance are also considered. Scholarships are for $1,000 each.
Kids with Heart
Kids with Heart of the National Association for Children's Heart Disorders sponsors the annual Luke Stempa Scholarship Fund. The award is sponsored in memory of a 12-year-old boy who died after undergoing multiple surgeries for heart defects. Scholarships of $500 are given to those pursuing accredited degree programs in either the performing arts or computer technology. An application is not available on the website, so interested students must contact the scholarship committee for more information.
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