The 2017 Dr. Bonnie Cameron Post-Secondary Scholarship Application is available now!
We would like to congratulate our 2018 winner – Trishtha Peters.
My name is Trishtha Peters. I am 17 years old and have had arthritis since I was 11. That is eight years of experience with this disease. Over the years I have learned a lot from arthritis. I have learned what I can and can’t do. I have learned that things are trickier for me than for other people. But I have also learned that I am one of the lucky ones. On medication, I only deal with minor aches and pains. Arthritis has taught me to see beyond the tunnel of despair that it put me in as a young child and to see the sunlight.
I may never get rid of the rheumatoid arthritis that is in me, but I will get rid of the way it makes me feel. As a young kid who was just going into middle school, my disease felt like another thing to be picked on. I learned how to hide my aches and pains from my parents and other people in my life very fast. Before being diagnosed I was an athletic child, while being diagnosed I was forced to give up many sports due to the swelling in my body. Three years after being diagnosed, I decided I was ready to play another sport so I threw myself into one I could hurt myself in the most. Rugby.
Rugby has taught me so many things in life. It’s taught me how to be strong. It’s taught me never to give up. Even on the days when I couldn’t get out of bed, my coach would text me a sweet message and I would find the courage and strength to get up. Rugby slowly became my life and I found myself enjoying it. I was able to prove to myself and others that even though I had a debilitating disease I was able to power through. I wanted to be an example for my brother and through the sport I was able to become one. I love rugby and I love the adrenaline it gives me. I love the look I get when people find out that a 5’2”, 90lb girl with arthritis is playing rugby. Arthritis gave me the mindset to prove everyone wrong. It gave me the mindset to want to do things that people with arthritis “shouldn’t do.”
Aside from rugby, I focused on school and swimming. At school, even though my hands would ache and pain, I excelled for my parents and the idea of one day teaching people about my disease. My hands take the brunt of my arthritis, I never stop using them. I write, I catch, I throw and I do everyday things without any help. So they tend to get grumpy a lot. They groan and complain, but I still keep going. The mindset that this disease has given me is one I’ll always be thankful for. I look forward to the day when I’m not in pain because I know it’s just around the corner.
I started swimming at the age of 6. My family doctor, when I first started getting symptoms told me that it was good for my body to swim slowly. He didn’t think I would take what he said and assume I could swim competitively and be a lifeguard, too. When I did my lifeguard test, I had to lift a 20lb brick off the bottom of a 10 foot pool. My hands and shoulders would ache every morning I got up to practise it. But it was worth every minute. The look I got from the rugby was now doubled when people heard about swimming and lifeguarding.
Every obstacle this disease has given me has been a battle I’ve faced with tremendous clarity. I learned to see the brighter end at the tunnel instead of just the bleak never ending tunnel arthritis can be. I will keep playing rugby and I will keep swimming because until I am forced to give up what I love, arthritis will never make me give it up. It’s just another thing that life gave me to make me stronger and my plan is to kick the hell out of it.
Thank you for reading my story.
Click here to open the pdf application. Dr Bonnie Cameron Post-Secondary Scholarship 2018
Purpose and Award
The Dr. Bonnie Cameron Post-Secondary Scholarship program is in its fifth year and hopes to assist students living with arthritis in achieving their educational goals. It is presented by Runanthropic.org in honour of the inspiring work and dedication of Dr. Cameron and the entire Rheumatology staff at SickKids Hospital. The scholarship award is $2,500.