With each passing day, Chailee Jones moves closer to acquiring the skills needed to beam ionizing radiation through a patient’s body with such pinpoint accuracy that it destroys cancerous tumors while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.
Though scientists are still seeking a cure for cancer, advances in treatment have prolonged life for those afflicted with the disease and given them more reason to have hope of remission. For Jones, a Radiation Therapy student at Pitt Community College, the fight against cancer has become her life’s mission. It’s a calling she discovered through witnessing close friends and loved ones struggle with the debilitating disease and by volunteering with Relay for Life events around her hometown of Maxton to raise money for cancer research.
“Seeing those who are currently in the middle of their [cancer] battle still be able to attend [a Relay for Life event] and smile is why I chose this career,” Jones said. “I want to give my life to a job where I can be a part of someone’s journey and be a light to them even on their darkest days.”
Knowing the pursuit of higher education would be difficult financially, particularly with a class schedule that left little room for part-time employment, Jones spent the summer leading up to her Radiation Therapy enrollment “working to save every dime” possible. Despite her best efforts, she realized that paying for educational and living expenses would still be a tall order.
So, when the PCC Foundation awarded Jones a general scholarship to help with educational expenses, she was relieved and appreciative. “… This scholarship has helped lighten some of that load,” she said, “and I am very humbled and grateful to have received it.”
With more than 65 percent of Pitt students receiving at least one form of financial assistance in any given semester, scholarships play a significant role in helping individuals complete their programs of study. Jones and other PCC Foundation scholarship recipients want donors to know they are making a positive difference.
“Thank you for what contributions you give, and remember that it does not go unnoticed,” Jones wrote in a thank-you letter to the foundation. “Students are blessed to have sponsors like you who continue to give and make donations.”