Yesterday was not one of my best days. It started off well: Woke up around 9:00. Made a smoothie (banana, blueberries, spinach, soy, spirulina) Biked to the gym. Went for a 30 minute run & BodyFlow class. Biked home and prepped lunch for my picnic in the park with Lindsay .
So far so good, right?
Lunch was brilliant. I made rice paper veggie wraps and carrot slaw with mango chutney dressing . Lindsay brought an amazing quinoa tabbouleh. I wasn’t having a great day emotionally and Lindsay and I had a pretty intense conversation about life, habits, body image and all kinds of good stuff. I love her to death and am so happy to have such a beautiful friend to share my innermost thoughts with.
When I got home, I noticed that there was a piece of mail waiting for me on the dining room table. Something told me it was the letter that I had been waiting for over the last couple of weeks. In June I applied for the UCBeyond Scholarship .
UCB Canada, a division of UCB Inc., is dedicated to creating unique programs and tools to aid Crohn’s disease (CD) patients in reaching above and beyond the boundaries of their disease and fulfilling their educational ambitions. This award is a one-time scholarship of up to $5,000.00 CAN. In 2010, eight (8) scholarships will be awarded to individuals diagnosed with CD.
When I had learned about the scholarship, I was jumping for joy. $5,000 would cover the remainder of my tuition and books for school and would relieve me of a great deal of financial stress. It seemed like an amazing gift from the universe and I was determined to win. It was a fairly extensive application but I gathered all of the necessary components, including 2 fantastic references from 2 trusted, influential people who I have worked with very closely.
“Ashley has turned the challenges she faces with Crohn’s into opportunities. She takes a passionate and enthusiastic approach to all that she does, while ensuring that she stays true to a message of ‘Crohn’s won’t get the best of me, I will get the best of me.’ Rather than letting her symptoms slow her down, they have actually helped fuel her interest in nutrition – a subject she is now pursuing with formal education.”
“Ashley carries with her a dynamic energy and charisma that is absolutely infectious. Her personal story is one of the most inspiring I have come to know. After overcoming a challenge with her weight, to then be diagnosed with Crohnʼs disease, might be enough to discourage anyone that the path to health could be found through healthy eating. Ashley however, believed that the changes she had already made, only prepared her to go a step further and through her efforts and attitude is living symptoms free.
Simply helping herself, would not fit with Ashleyʼs inherent generosity and giving nature. It took much strength, confidence and bravery to leave her place of full-time employment to embark on her formal nutrition education. She made the transition with, what I have come to know, in her normal fashion- with spark, enthusiasm, dynamism and unwavering commitment.”
I got the information required from my school, gastroenterologist and worked really hard on my one page essay, telling my story of diagnosis, treatment, and new life. I felt confident sending in the application and was anxiously waiting to hear back from the committee sometime in mid August.
Well yesterday was that day. And I didn’t win one of the 8 scholarships. I was speechless.
I had been thinking nothing but positive thoughts about the scholarship; I was so proud of my application; I had so many amazing people supporting me, but alas it was not enough.
After a lot of crying and hugs from Lindsay and my roommates, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from the world for awhile. Sometimes I just need to do that, but instead I remembered that wallowing really isn’t my style and that Lindsay wouldn’t care if I cried for the entire duration of our walk. So we walked and ended up in Riverdale Farm .
As much as I had wanted to hide from the world for a little bit, the walk, sunshine, adorable animals and amazing friendship was exactly what I needed. We continued our walk all the way to the Annex where I met up with other friends and ended up having a great evening, despite how I was feeling on the inside.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about the scholarship. It would have taken away some definite financial stress and enabled me to continue moving forward without having to worry about tuition or books, making my life a little bit easier. That being said, I know that it’s not the end of the world and that I will continue to “keep on keepin’ on”. I was going to go to school without the scholarship so I’m confident that I’ll figure it out. I’m constantly thankful for this amazing life that I’m living, and you really can’t put a monetary value on that.
This morning I reread my scholarship application, and I’m still really proud of all the work that I put into getting to where I am today:
While there have been moments in my life where my disease has been an issue, it has been more of a blessing than any sort of misfortune. I feel that I have struck a beautiful balance of things in my life that I love (nutrition, helping others and performing), and I now feel healthier than ever. By writing about my experience on my blog and through my role as Honorary Chair, I have been able to share this inspirational and uplifting story of health, balance and happiness with others. My education in holistic nutrition is going to empower me to inspire and help even more people, and this scholarship would allow me to do that without financial concern. My life has changed instrumentally since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today, and look forward to what the future holds for me.
Scholarship or not, I’m truly excited for the future.