With the assistance of a $3,000 American Honda Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, Army dependent Joshua Neal is realizing his academic aspirations at Duke University in North Carolina.
Inspired by his sister Sarah's brave battle against Ewing's Sarcoma, Joshua plans to become a Radiation Oncologist. "Though I face years of education, I know that I will be able to assist other families affected by cancer."
Sadly, Sarah passed away in the spring of 2014. "Ironically, it was just three months prior that I was first introduced to Dr. David Kirsch, a world-renowned physician, who saw my passion and offered me a position on his research team studying the exact same cancer that afflicted my sister. Ultimately, I intend to use the world-class education that I receive to make a difference in the lives of all those who are fighting this terrible disease."
Joshua is already affecting lives. He volunteers up to four hours a day, and two months each summer, in the Duke Medical Center Kirsch Cancer Laboratory where he dissects mice, splits cells, and conducts luciferase imaging on brain tumors.
Besides his work on Dr. Kirsch's sarcoma research team, Joshua has logged over 100 volunteer hours with the orthopedic and surgical suites at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. He serves as the Duke American Red Cross Executive Board Secretary and raises money for cancer research as a member of Blue Devils vs. Cancer and CureSearch.
Joshua also enjoys uplifting the community and empowering others. For the past several years, he has provided no-cost mathematics, science, English, and Spanish tutoring to college, high school, and middle school students. He builds homes with the San Antonio and Raleigh/Durham chapters of Habitat for Humanity and motivates special-needs athletes as a Special Olympics Buddy.
Including this year’s American Honda Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, Joshua has received ThanksUSA scholarship totaling $6,000. “ThanksUSA has helped me not once, but twice. I can't thank you enough – I am certainly in debt to your fine organization.”
We're confident that Joshua's "debt" will be more than repaid as he continues to
pay-it-forward through community service, oncology research, and future medical career.