40 Cystic Fibrosis Patients or Family Members Win Vertex’s First All in for CF Scholarships

Alice Melão, MSc avatar

by Alice Melão, MSc |

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Vertex scholarship winners

Forty cystic fibrosis patients or family members are winners of Vertex Pharmaceuticals‘ first All in for CF scholarships.

The awards are for $5,000, making the total for the 2017-2018 academic year $200,000.

Boston-based Vertex is a biotech company that develops therapies for cystic fibrosis and  other life-threatening conditions. The company started the scholarship program to demonstrate that its commitment to the CF community goes beyond treatments.

The awards will help the winners pursue two-year, four-year, or graduate degrees.

“Vertex is focused on discovering and developing transformative medicines for people with CF, but our commitment to the community extends far beyond this,” Jeffrey Leiden, the company’s chairman, said in a press release.

“Our new scholarship program reflects the fact that CF impacts entire families by helping people with CF, their caregivers, siblings and children pursue their academic goals,” Leiden added.

A committee consisting of cystic fibrosis community members selected the 26 patients and 14 family members who won the scholarships. The awards were based on applicants’ academic achievements, community involvement, financial need and an essay.

“I believe I was given a second chance to inspire, love and help others,” said Carly Wheeler, a scholarship winner with CF who will study biology at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. “The All in for CF Scholarship will help me work toward doing that. I plan to study genetics and one day join the fight against CF and other diseases to give people the opportunity of a full life.”

“I watched as he was told he would be different but now he plays four different sports and lives a healthy life,” said Jacob Feldman, the brother of a CF patient, who will study finance at the University of Iowa. “Today, I’m watching as my 12-year-old brother shows an infinite amount of courage. CF has changed how I view role models and courageous people. It has changed them because I went from admiring [baseball star] Derek Jeter as a 7-year-old to admiring my 12-year-old brother at age 18. This scholarship will help me along my journey to adulthood, modeling my courage after my younger brother.”

More information about the All in for CF Scholarship program, and the list of this year’s winners, can be found here. Applications for the 2018-2019 scholarships program will be available in coming months.